I invite you to read Belinda’s powerful post about the Lord’s love.
At the start of each new year, I find myself amazed–and amused–at the level of attention that we often place on new year’s resolutions. It would seem to be that somehow with that particular turning of the clock, we feel the need to “get it right.” Yet, by mid-year (exactly where we are as I write), I know personally that I begin to spend time dreading those things that I didn’t pay attention to, and settling into the reality that my break is quickly coming to a serious halt. I choose to stop short of a pity party; otherwise, it would be easy to beat myself up for all of those lacks of accomplishment.
One of the reasons I made a conscious decision to stop with all of the hullabaloo, so to speak, of resolutions was because I found myself almost too focused on me–my weight, my time, my goals, etc. This whole thinking process of what I will do for me has unintentionally become a common thread throughout many areas of my life. One of the few downsides of homeschooling, at least for me, is the isolation as a teacher and mother. Don’t get me wrong; as an introvert, I love to spend time alone. Yet, it is so very easy for me to get focused in on my kids, my plans, my schedule, my needs, my wants, my, my, my…If I’m not careful, all the needs that come my way, all the prayer requests that come to my e-mail, and all the opportunities to bless someone else somehow get subjected to what is going on for me at the time.
God so loved that He gave. I have heard this paraphrase of John 3:16 repeated often as part of a sermon on the importance of tithes and offerings. However, the words have come to life for me in an altogether different way.
If I am to live out the power of John 3:16 in my own life, I must embrace servant-leadership, and the idea of increasingly ministering to someone else as a part of my own spiritual growth. So I make a special effort to remember people as I pray (rather than just the needs of my family), and to step outside of my agenda and be sure that I check on people, and that I smile at people. I make a point to hug and to be an encourager, especially when a kind word might seem odd or artificial.
The Lord [Jesus] tells us in no uncertain terms that we will each give an account of what we did with what He granted us while we were here on earth. You might be familiar with the parable of the talents. One man was given ten talents, one man was given five; each of them multiplied what they had, and the Master said to each man,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23
His message for the servant who bore no fruit from what he was given was very different:
Matthew 25: 26-30 ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Again, some sermons apply this concept to money, but I think there is larger heart lesson to be learned here. The latter servant had nothing to show for his time. He returned just as he left, like many of us whose life experience will be that we grew up, worked, paid bills, and died. Personally, I want to use my talent–even if I only receive one–to do something that has lasting impact. I want it to grow and bear fruit, and to leave someone else’s life changed as well. I want to share in my Master’s happiness by passing on what I have been given–the joy of a life with Christ.
God so loved that He gave. Lord, allow me to love on people such that I, too, can make You happy.
Belinda Bullard is a wife to her best friend and a home educating mother of three. Belinda is an author and the owner of A Blessed Heritage Educational Resources, a literature-based history curriculum featuring African-American presence in history, as well as the contributions of other races to American history. A chemical engineer by formal education, she also serves as adjunct faculty for college programs specializing in adult learning. She is a regular contributor to Heart of the Matter Online and Home Educating Family. Belinda blogs at Simply Belinda and Chronicles of a Blessed Heritage