How has success been described to you? How does success look to you? Are there any hidden secrets or lies in them? Have you ever talked or heard about what it takes? Have you ever wondered if it would or could happen to you?
The other day on the radio an interesting statement was made that jumped into my mind as I was typing this and it went something like this: “Failure is an event, not a person.” (so looked it up on the internet to see what I could find) If we get knocked down, we need to dust ourselves off and get back up and move forward. Most great learning and success come after getting it wrong many times! Some feel the need to figure it all out on their own rather than learn from the success and failures of others which can cause a lot more pain than is necessary.
So let’s take a look at what today’s reading has to say in the words of Jesus…
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
–from Matthew 25
Have you ever noticed how he gives in accordance to their abilities? We aren’t all the same! We aren’t all given the same gifts and talents! Some might try to make us believe that we are, but if we all had the same gifts and talents, consider how much would be missing. We are supposed to be one body, but many parts! It just wouldn’t work if we were all one part! Using the body as the picture, we couldn’t all be eyes, or all be ears, or all be noses, or all be hands, or all be feet. Using the body as the picture, the reality is we need all the parts to be successful! Using the body as the picture, not all parts are visible to the outside world, but aren’t any less important (the heart, the lungs, the brain, etc.) they show modesty by being hidden under our flesh, but are very important. Kind of like a humble servant being the leader! We are in this together and if one part suffers the reality we all suffer, if one part is honored, every part rejoices!
God created us different on purpose! He created us diverse on purpose! We each were created on purpose with purpose for a purpose! And so we need to consider how we should be knit together for the greater good! For success to really happen!
But what does culture tell you? What lies are spoken that create the conflicts and the confusion? What does the world say about success? Let’s pose it this way…
- Can you really be anything you want to be?
- Can you really be the best in the world?
Are these just setups? Are these just said to derail us? Are these just statements to keep us from achieving our real purpose in life? Are we really all created equal? Or do we each have our unique gifts and talents? Are we really all created the same? Or are we different and unique? Do you think we have all been given the same abilities? Can everyone grow up to be the leader of the country? (Prime Minister/President/etc.) Can everyone grow up to be a brain surgeon? Can everyone grow up to be a professional athlete? Or have we each been given special gifts and talents for a greater purpose?
We may not have the same gifts and talents, we may not even have the same number of them. But we are all accountable for what we will choose to do with the ones we have been given. We are all accountable to use them and multiply them for the greater purpose in our lives so that we will provide a return. We want to be good stewards of what we have been given! We need to be good stewards of all that we have been given!
Considering today’s reading, we realize that God has given us unique resources and talents to be used in everything we do. We can use those to help us in our studies and then in our workplaces. Based on the abilities we have there is an expectation on what we will produce, what return we will provide and it’s not the same for everyone and as such success isn’t the same for everyone! But the Bible does give us a single meaning for success:
- faithfully using our gifts, talents and opportunities
So what are you doing with the gifts, talents, and opportunities God has given you? Are you using them for God’s purpose and plan in your life? Are you sharing the love of God and growing His kingdom while you are here on earth?
It may not be easy, but are you working to your full potential so that in and through it all you have joy and peace of mind that we are doing our best, through the power of Jesus working in and through us, to accomplish all that God has created us and called us to do in order to make a difference in this world. SUCCESS!
Today’s reading continues into Ephesians speaking to how we can be created new and saved…
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
–from Ephesians 2
It’s not an accident that you are here. It’s not a mistake that you are here. It’s on purpose! Your parents may not have known you were coming, but God did! You weren’t a surprise, a mistake, or an accident to God! He created you on purpose with purpose for a purpose!
We see in today’s reading “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.“. We are His handiwork! When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior in faith, we start a new reaction, a new process, a new experience! Not because of anything we have done or can do, but out of the grace of God! Success is more about Him and less about us. Jesus has done it all, but we need to live as good stewards of all we have been given. Consider from today’s reading “by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” how we are made alive! How God made a way to salvation! How we are raised up because of Him! God has a plan! He prepared it in advance for us to get it done! We see that when He tells us in His Word “which God prepared beforehand” so we need to be good stewards and complete the work He has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! We need to complete it in a way that will glorify Him! As today’s reading concludes with, we need to walk in them- in His plans, His purpose, His good works!
We may not be able to be anything, but we can be the best us that God created us to be! We can take the talents He gave us and provide a great return to Him! We each have our unique gifts and talents and need to be good stewards of them! So let’s step up and become all that God uniquely created us to be!
What gifts have you been given? How is God wanting you to use them?