Happy Monday! Today's Motivational Monday Moment is right in alignment with this month's focus. All month long we're hosting, March Inspirations, allowing authors to share their gifts to encourage readers to pursue their dreams, and we're giving away gifts at each March Inspiration post.
Tracee is with us today discussing spiritual gifts given to us by the greatest Giver of all. She breaks down various points of Matthew 24 and leaves you with a message to motivate you not only for this week, but for a lifetime. Read on...
To echo others over the course of these Motivational Mondays, Thank you SO MUCH, Chelle Ramsey our host and purveyor, for having me on the blog today. I love coming to Chelle’s blog and seeing all the beautiful Black women that she curates for us and the graphics she has taken time to cultivate. It’s really a feast for the senses and a reminder of our individual and collective beauty.
So what is up? I’m truly honored to talk this Monday Motivation about a scripture that every single time I speak about it at churches, research what others have to say about it through study/commentaries and just consider what God plants in my heart about The Parable of the Talents, I learn something completely new and it resonates so much with me, showing new, hidden messages within each read of this full text.
I LOVE this passage, lets take a look at the story:
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury (interest).
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
Now for my observations, just five of them, let’s explore.
1. God gave you THE GOODS
There is NO ONE that God has not blessed with a talent (I believe every single person has more than one). If we could conduct ourselves and truly believe that each of us has a gift, we'd have only an eye for cultivating and growing that God-given gift at every opportunity. Dare I say that we might even feel a sense of urgency. I feel that urgency every day and that is why self-publishing is so awesome to me. Many would argue that any of us that have had a traditional contract in the past, why not pursue another? Absolutely, I do plan to do that, but in the mean time just as sure as I could get another contract, I could also write, publish and produce my own work and move forward with my writing career. How many of us will die with projects and dreams partially finished, never started waiting on some component we think that we need and it’s just in there, in us. When we really understand that tomorrow is not promised, you'll develop a sense of urgency that helps you hone your talent, realize your goal and each and every day, seek and then work to do something that moves you closer.
2. There was no comparison among the servants, each went and did whatever he saw fit to do with the gifts, whether that was good and certainly bad.
There is nothing in the scripture that suggest the servants looked and turned up their nose at one another asking, why can't I have five Lord? Other books show us the potential for jealousy among God’s people and the ill effects, but not here. Each one took what he had and moved forward, not prideful about someone else having more or less than they.
Comparison is the downfall of all blighted success stories. We all do it and some may argue that it can be a good motivator but not if it motivates you only to try your hardest to do what you feel is better than someone else. It is a constant struggle for me not to compare the number of books I have against someone else. Everyone is working at his or her own pace. Some work full time and others have day jobs - see? That's a comparison. Why does it matter how you arrived at your destination? You are still there. I also want to remind you that Ecclesiastes 9 verse 11, says the race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but those who endure until the end. I believe the end will see some of us limping, dragging, but assuredly still there. When we reach of the end of our race, no one will complain to the Lord about the way in which we came to reach the end of our journey, we’ll be too busy shouting together that we made it.
3. When someone trust you with something, it seems burdensome until
you learn how AND that you CAN properly use it.
There is some burden in opportunity. What will I do with it? Can I handle it? How do I make the best use of it? Why me? If the gift is not what you thought you should have, it seems underrated and it just wasn’t what you had in mind. Thus, your first response will be to reject it, to have reservations and in many cases, to bury it somewhere and repress it’s very presence. Funny thing is, it keeps turning up in some fashion, often in a kind of reminder, year after year that it is still there. Bury it all you want, it will rear its head again and hopefully, next time you'll be ready.
The evidence is clear. Many of us are called to do things and we're like, really God? This isn't really what I had in mind. What am I supposed to do with this? The gifts are easier when they come with instructions and a picture of the end result but what fun is that? When you learn to trust that this is the right gift for you, you will find the passion for it. It will and should be fun, you will learn so much and can begin to trust God more to lead you to new and more awesome things.
4. Others will take whatever you had (not the literal thing) but similar to what you were doing and decide to do it or make it (or a version of it) on their own.
There are many similar businesses and the amount of choice we have today should show you that while people are doing businesses that look the same, why are some able to be more successful at it than others? There's that comparison thing again. But my point is that, why not learn from someone how to do something you also want to do? What happens if as adults we could be open to more mentorship, not just receiving but as a successful business in whatever field, desiring to be a giver of mentorship? What if the servant had asked his fellow brothers to show him how and to share what they planned to do with the talent? Yes, there could be rejection but the worst answer we can hear is “No” and we're really not any worse off for asking. And we let one "No." in any situation, deter us from asking anyone else. At many book signings I attend, this is a skill all future authors will learn, that every door to door salesman and telemarketer has already learned. Booksignings are two hours, often longer, if I packed up at the first no, I'd never sell any books. More "No's" will come than "yes's" but with each new person, comes from me a new smile and a new invitation to them to keep sharing and yes, one sale boost confidence for the next but we have to develop our rejection muscles that helps us to keep going after every negative experience. I did not post verse 30 but God " ...cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’’
That is not a good look.
5. NOT one of the servants frowned upon what God gave him nor did they utter “What is that and what I’m supposed to do with it?”
Years ago, I was told that my disability is a gift. This from a counselor I visited in my early thirties. As I age, I go through what I call occasional trouble spots and I appreciate seeing a counselor and getting a different perspective on my thoughts, which are sometimes erroneous. We should all work hard to reduce the stigma talking to professionals can have especially in the Black community.
My counselor went on to tell me that disability enhances my ability to feel others pain and helps me in my advocacy efforts and my employment where I am a Peer Counselor.
My response: Girl you tripping. Can’t God (the original Creative) get the glory some other way and give me a better gift?
I believe the latter part of my then counselor’s estimation. Even one of the many disabled people depicted in the Bible, spectators, and onlookers assumed that due to some issue of sin by the blind man's parents, ancestors or himself, that the man would be born into adversity, with disease, lack or whatever plagued people during biblical times. Unfortunate past sin of our ancestors having a negative affect on someone is still a wrong and sad belief, held by many people today. Jesus's response, in John 9:3 tells us that Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God would be displayed in him.”
What might all of us be without the thorns that bind us? The illness, the limp, the financial lack, the mediocre job, the sick child...all of these could be considered deficiencies, yet whatever the servant was given, he did what he considered good for it with whatever social status each possessed, with whatever pedigree, knowledge and abilities each of them had. He moved forward with it.
I won’t pretend to embrace this notion of disability held by my counselor as a gift all the time because I don't (and that is okay, make peace with it). What is important that is whatever I have, whether labeled gifts (or “adversities”), I choose not to dwell on it and make a conscious effort to move forward with it. Like life, my acceptance ebbs and flows, much like that of some single people who yearn to be married or some childless people that yearn for a family of their own making, and yet some that have all of that, may wish for none of it. It isn't what you have, it's what you do with whatever you have and it is the trying involved and your conscious effort to work through it no matter what.
The gift should not define you, it is only a part of your witness, your testimony, your blessing and your journey. Find whatever way you can to use it as best you can, to bless others and ultimately to give God the glory and of course, you know, to keep yourself out of that whole gnashing of teeth situation.
Be blessed and thanks again for joining me as a guest on the Beautifully Inspired Blog today.
If you desire to discuss my commentary further, please leave a comment to tell me your thoughts, comments and/or questions.
Until next time...
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