Courage, Faith, Wisdom, and Diligence.
Ok so. My whole desire in these posts is to bring some measure of clarity, freedom, and joy to my friends who are wrestling with the issues of direction. FREEDOM!!!! In Jesus name. I just believe with all my heart that the issue of God's will is not meant to be an issue that is difficult for us to understand. I think the pattern in God's word is very clear and deeply freeing. God created us to be lovers of Him and live like it.
Today I want to talk about a subject that is very near and dear to my weak heart. That is the issue of resource development. This is, in my belief, the primary way that God leads AND PROVIDES for us. The most convenient point of reference for this desire in the heart of God is Jesus parable of the talents. This frightening and wonderful parable speaks of deep Kingdom realities and unveils God's management style AND His expectations of His children.
The master comes to his servants and invests in them. He takes very large sums of money and puts them in each person's hand according to their ability. He gives no instruction to them as to how to use the money he only tells them He will be returning and expects them to manage the resources well. The first two servants go out and take a risk, they invest the money in ways that could possibly end up breaking them, but through their hard work, ingenuity and diligence they end up doubling the amount of money they were given in the first place. The third servant is worried that he might not be able to hold on to what he has been given so he puts it in a very safe place. Under the ground! Sure enough the master returns and He wants to know how His affairs have been maintained. He speaks with the first two servants and is very pleased with what they have accomplished. He says, "you have been faithful in a few things, I will set you over many" He speaks with the last servant and he is furious. He calls the man wicked and lazy. He takes away even the little that the man has and gives it to his most capable servant. It struck me hard the other day that this man did not lose one penny of the master's money, but the master was completely unsatisfied with his performance. The master expected multiplication. Wow.
This is how God deals with us. He invests in us and He expects results. Our tendency is to say, "well when He tells me to invest I will." the problem is He already told you to invest! He told you that by giving you management of His resources! The lazy third servant told the master that He didn't do anything with the money because he knew his master was a man who cared about making money "reaping where he had not sown". The master's response is revealing. He says, "If you knew I cared about making money you should have done something to make me more money!!!" God cares deeply about the investments He has made in our lives. He cares about the opportunities he has given us to produce. He puts us where He puts us because He wants us to produce!!! One of the ways we can know what God wants us to do is to pick up our heads and look around! What is there to do? How can we use what we have to get what God wants. I believe that specific step by step instruction is a great way to train a dog, but humans need room to be creative and innovative and we can accomplish so much more that way. So what we do is fix the goal in mind and then run the race guided by the heart values of God. Four of His heart values are Courage, Wisdom, Faith, and Diligence.
Courage - we have to take the risk of investment. We risk loss, we risk hurt, we risk failure, but we must in order to produce! The servants could have lost every penny of their master's money and what would his response have been to them! They knew the only way to please the master was to take a risk.
Wisdom - in order to know what risk to take and how to take that risk for our maximum return we have to have wisdom. That means counsel, asking for help! That means research, that means patience to wait for the right opportunity to come along and jump on it in the best way we can.
Faith - we have got to believe that God is going to reward our courage and wisdom by blessing. Look at these two servants, they had a 100% return that's pretty darn good!
Diligence - we can never give up. even when it looks hard, and maybe even hopeless. We have to work hard and smart to the end!