30 While 30: Day 257 – Not “for what” … but “how” are you thankful?

Today is a special day.

“This is the day, that the LORD has made.  Let us rejoice, and be glad in it.” -Psalm 118.24

Some days, that is all that you can really be happy about … at least you may think.

To be perfectly honest, I have been in a bit of a funk the last week or so.  It might be easy to blame it on lots of other stuff:

Time change.

Gloomy, rainy days.

Anatomy and Physiology Quizzes.

Not a lot of rest (not sleep, mind you, but rest – believe me, there is a difference)

It might be easy, until I start to lecture myself like the good counselor and mentor that I am…

You no longer wake in the dark.  You wake with the sun and are reminded that with every new day His mercies are made new.

The rain is necessary for life … your life.  His mercy falls like rain.

You are growing in wisdom and knowledge, adding tools that can be used to glorify Him.  You are learning how you are wonderfully and masterfully made.

Man does not live on bread (or sleep, or rest, or – enter guilty physical pleasure – ) alone, but by every word that come from the mouth of God.

Then I become thankful.  Thankful that those words are written on my heart.  That I am even able to meditate on them day and night.  That I can adorn (carry) His word without threat of harm.

I love this time of year.  I have enjoyed all of my friends on Twitter and Facebook sharing what they are thankful for as we approach this day to help us focus on things that are really important …

… and by the way – that’s not Friday.

I am reminded about gifts I have been given that I haven’t really used.  Ever since Summer and I have been working on simplifying our stuff (which you can read about here), I have been becoming more and more cognizant of what I actually own and how I use it.

I have what feels like a million Bibles, and despite my rhetoric about how Bibles represent “phases in my life” (as if that were a sufficient reason to keep almost a dozen Bibles on my bookshelf), I have many when others are killed, persecuted, or jailed for discovering part of one in their home.  It’s time for me to spread the wealth.

I have, on a hangar in my closet, a photography vest.  It’s nice, and a gift from my brother-in-law Jon.

Looking at that vest, debating whether or not I need to simplify it, I came to a bit of an epiphany.

It is not “for what” you are thankful, but “how”.

Let me share with you a story, in common language:

“For it will be like a business owner going on sabbatical, who called his employees and gave to each of them responsibility in the company. To one he entrusted a large portion, over half of the assets, to another a quarter, and to another a single department, a lowly one at that, but to each he entrusted based on his assessment of the employee’s skills and potential. The owner began his journey. He who had received the largest portion went at once and used the assets to spread market share, providing more product to more people, and in acting fairly and justly, doubled the size of his portion of the assets. The same effort was made by the employee given a quarter of the assets, with equal results – it was doubled. However, the manager given the single department simply maintained the status quo, neither adding to or subtracting from the influence of his responsibility, and ended at the same level as the beginning.  Now after a long time the owner returned and had a staff meeting.  The two men who had increased shared their success.  The owner praised them, allowed them to maintain oversight of their areas, and rewarded them with sizable bonuses.  The third man, instead of sharing a success, instead spoke of his fear of the owner, and stated that at least he didn’t cause the department to fail while the owner was away.  The owner was so displeased, so frustrated that the manager was not even able to improve efficiency of the staff, that he fired the manager on the spot, sent him away with no pension or severance, and placed the authority of the single department with the employee who had increased the company the most.  He reminded the employees that remained that to work for this master, to simply maintain … is to fail.  To not use what you are entrusted with for the betterment of the company was unacceptable, and not worthy of reward.”  (Paraphrased from Matthew 25.14-30)

1. Don’t focus on the lesser of the employees (servants).  That is the place we almost always go in that story.  We learn, and hone in on, what we should not do.  I encourage you, instead look to the first servant.  Look to what the LORD said of each of them: “… who called his servants and entrusted to them his property … to each according to his ability” (Matt 25.14-15).  Look towards what happens when we are diligent and obedient

2. Don’t assume that you relate to the third servant in the story, the one who only had one measly “talent”.  Too many times have I heard this preached as if we should be “ok”, patted on the back, stroked like a kitten, because “at least God gave me one talent.”

You, yes YOU, are the servant with 5 talents, the greatest share, the most to use.

In our brokenness, we gravitate towards our pity-party, hoping that we can be “ok” with the least to use for the Kingdom … when in fact, we are so much more than that.

Don’t commit the self-sabotage of thinking you have nothing to contribute.

In this season, as we say our thanks, let us also commit to using that which we have been given … all of the things that we take for granted.  Let us look each day, giving thanks for what we have been given, in the act of using those things for the glory and increase of the Kingdom.

-What are you reminded to put to use this season?

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