If you do, you need to know your purpose! You need to know your mission! You need to understand what it is the goal is! Without that you may succeed at something, but it won’t add up to success!
Is your mission aligned to His mission? Is your purpose aligned to His purpose? Are you aware of the temperature of the people around you? It’s about more than just being comfortable as I learned the hard way many years ago when I didn’t listen. It’s personal! It’s about responding to what we have received! We need to be selfless rather than self-centered. Jesus had a plan and He left it in our hands to accomplish! He came to seek and to save the lost, so let’s grab a hold of that and pursue real success!
Today’s reading continues on the theme of success as Jesus speaks about talents…
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
What can we give God? What could we give God? It’s already all His, He is the giving one as every good and perfect gift comes from Him! So it’s more than just about giving to God, it would be hard to succeed if that was our goal.
Today’s devotional puts it this way…
Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
So knowing that everything belongs to God and that even what He gives us belongs to Him, we need to be able to be good stewards. As today’s reading showed, they returned to the master what was his. We are here but for a breath compared to eternity and when we leave, what will we have to show for it? Will we have lived lives that provide a return to God? Since it’s not about the stuff, how is our stewardship lining up? If that is our only measure of success, what can we do to succeed? How can we maximize our talents for God’s purposes? How can we maximize our talents in a way that isn’t self-centered but is selfless? Let’s maximize our talents in a way that will bring honor and glory to God! Let’s allow the joy of the Lord to be our strength! Let’s allow doing good work to give us satisfaction!
It’s not a perfect world in which we live, and as we know it is a fallen world. We know from God’s Word that in this world we will have troubles, but we can take heart because Jesus has already overcome it! We know also from God’s Word that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds! So let’s take what we have been given in accordance to our abilities and use them and multiply them seeking to succeed in order to honor and serve others!
Today’s devotional also speaks to how we should use our gifts using 1 Peter 4
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
–from 1 Peter 4:10-11
That’s right, we are to use our gifts to serve! That’s right, we are to use our gifts as good stewards of God’s grace! That’s right, we are to allow God to fill us up so that we can serve and pour out into the lives of others! That He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory for ever and ever!
So consider the talents God has given you! Consider what you have done with them through your schooling and work experience! And now consider why are you going to work each day? Is it all about you? Is it just so that you can make a lot of money and retire happily? But is that what we learned today? Is that the definition of success? Is that the purpose and the mission for which we have been put here? No, Jesus came and has given us the purpose and the mission to come and to find and to save the lost! Our talents aren’t for our own benefits alone, they are so that we have a way to be able to serve others! And similarly, God has given others talents so that we can benefit from those too. We have each been given talents according to our abilities for a greater purpose, so let’s pick up that challenge and pursue after God’s plan, God’s purpose, God’s mission through Jesus’ example! And as today’s devotional puts it
By God’s grace, let us strive to be faithful stewards of all God has given us within the opportunities presented through his providence to glorify him, serve the common good, and further his kingdom.