Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Talent Test

Lessons learned from my motorbike accident: Part 2

In Matthew 25 there is a story titled “The Parable of the Talents.” There were three people who were each given a different amount of money or talents. Two of those people were proactive in how they used their talents and able to multiply them.  The Master’s reply to them was, “Well done, good and faithful slave.  You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” One of them did nothing with what they were given, burying it in the ground. The Master called him “wicked” and “lazy” and told him that he could have at least invested in the bank to reap something.

How often do we receive blessings from the Lord or gifts from Him but we do nothing with it? Why? Sometimes we are not happy with our circumstances, situations or where God has placed us. We ask God to take us out of this and put us in a better place thinking our current environment isn’t beneficial for us.  Maybe we are striving to fulfill some hope or some dream and we think where we are isn’t going to get us there but we don’t know the bigger picture.

Sometimes I think fear also gets in the way.  We fail assignments not just because of laziness but also because of fear and lack of trust in our abilities with the gifts that God has given to us.  God gives us gifts according to our abilities and expects us to invest them wisely until He returns regardless of what they are or our circumstances. We are responsible to use well what God has given us.  The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what we have.

For me, a goal has been missions.  I’ve wanted to be a missionary since 1998 and began pursuing that dream in 2005. It took a long time, because I don’t think God could have trusted me back then.  I wasn’t ready; I wasn’t prepared.  Sometimes we just have to wait, and in the waiting God teaches us things that we can use for our future.  Sure I got to experience it here and there with short-term trips and training from school, but I wanted to be on the mission field “now”.  During those 10 years God was constantly reminding me to grow where I was planted, and little by little I could see my responsibility growing with each test. 

God rewards faithfulness because He is faithful.  I’m in Thailand not because of me but because of God.  He has fulfilled a dream of mine.  After years of preparation, longing, training, money spent, heartache, and tons of mistakes, God finally allowed me to go to a foreign country and share the Gospel.  It may not be exactly where I originally hoped to be, but it is a dream fulfilled. 

When I first arrived, I was finally living my dream.  Wouldn’t you know it? Four days after I arrived, I fractured my shoulder in six places and became basically unable to do anything for two months!  I thought, “God why!!? I’m finally here! I finally made it but I’m still waiting because there is very little I can do! I could be doing this in America where I have droves of people who could help me or entertain me, but instead I’m in a place where I know 5 people and not even that well really!  If I were in America, I wouldn’t have to worry about using a particular person too much.  I would also be more comfortable with a doctor and nurses I could communicate with well and I would have my nice, comfortable bed. Why on Earth did this happen?!!” 

I tried to remain positive, but around week three, depression and anger started to sink in because I allowed it.  I couldn’t exercise, couldn’t cook, couldn’t clean myself, couldn’t help anyone, and couldn’t dress myself.  I had to depend on people for everything like I was some sort of helpless toddler.  I was in pain day and night and couldn’t sleep comfortably.  The pain medicine and lack of constant human interaction was making me a little crazy and it was hard to think straight.  My only activities were my regular visits to the hospital and going to Language school two days a week.  I was miserable and I felt I was making everyone around me miserable as well. 

That’s when I read this scripture on the talents. I realized this was a test and I had a choice to make.  I could either choose to continue wallowing in self pity and become depressed (burying my talents into the ground) or I could choose to think positive, come up with a plan, and learn how to fly with a broken wing (investing in what I had been given.) 

I was reminded again that missions is everywhere: our house, street, neighborhood, school, and workplace. I started going for regular walks around my neighborhood (after all I needed the exercise for sanity’s sake.) I found a pool nearby and started hanging out there to get a little “vitamin sunshine” every day (on top of that it was fun watching kids and families interact with each other). 

As I began to do this regularly, people started to take notice and they started talking to me and asking me questions.  I was able to share with them about the accident and how God has been healing me.  I was able to share with them about the community of believers, friends and even strangers who have been praying for me and how they have encouraged me.  I have even started planning lunch dates with my classmates and talking with them about what God has been doing in my life and why I’m in Thailand.  While I haven’t had anyone want to become a Christian, I have been planting seeds, building relationships, and investing in the talents God has given to me.    

We must not make excuses to avoid doing what God calls us to do.  If God truly is our Master we must obey willingly, regardless of our circumstances.  Our time, abilities, and money aren’t ours in the first place. We are caretakers not owners. When we ignore, squander, or abuse what we have been given, we are rebellious. 


We can’t determine our circumstances but we can determine our attitude. If we have the right attitude we will make the best of our circumstances and can rise above our circumstances.  

TO BE CONTINUED......

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