There will always be someone who is more intelligent, better looking, wealthier, more popular or more athletic. Thankfully, that’s not the point, because what you have been given is insignificant. What matters is how you use what the Lord has blessed you with.
That has seriously challenged me recently. There are days I look around me and realize the caliber of men I have surrounded myself with, and, in my fleshly weakness, I allow my mind to begin comparing myself, my performance and contribution to theirs, neglecting that they may have been gifted differently than I have. But that never matters. Still I want to perform at their level. I want to receive the same recognition they receive.
In Matthew 25:14-30, a master has chosen three of his servants to steward his property in his extended absence. To the first, five talents were given, to the second, two talents and to the third, one talent, “each according to his ability.” The first two servants went away and turned the five talents into ten and the two talents into four. The third servant dug a hole and hid the single talent he had been given.
When the Master returned, the first servant presented ten talents and was told, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
The second servant presented the four talents he had turned from his two and was told, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
But when the third servant presented to his master the same single talent he had been entrusted with, the Master chastised him for not investing it; for not making the most of the gift he had been given.
His excuse? Fear. The servant says “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, have what is yours.” For this, he is called a “wicked and slothful servant” and cast out of the Master’s presence.
In allowing his fear of failure to dictate his inaction, the servant failed his Master’s command. He was too worried that he would not achieve the same returns as his fellow servants. Did the master not know this though? Did he expect the man given one to return with ten? I think the answer to that is clearly no! Remember the phrase, “each according to his ability?” This master was not disillusioned about the likely outcome.
Just like the master in the parable, God has gifted each of us according to our ability. God did not gift me in a manner that allows me to further the Kingdom from the platform of a professional athlete. I’m not meant for that, no matter how badly I might want to be great at sports.
I have to stop looking around at others and setting expectations for myself based upon what I see other accomplishing. We worry way too much about achieving success according to the world’s standards instead of maintaining faithfulness to God’s Word and His commandments. He has commanded us to be good stewards of what he has entrusted us with. He has no disillusions about what we can accomplish.
So let this be an encouragement to you, men. Whether it be serving, teaching, encouraging or leading, be excellent in what you have been given. Don’t try and be something you’re not meant for. Had future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, who always hit for a high batting average but showed little power, chased the homerun record, there’s no way he would have accomplished what he did in professional baseball. He didn’t have the strength. His specialty was getting on base. He understood his limitations but he also recognized where he could excel and invested much time and effort into his craft.
Each of us desires to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” when we one day see His face. At that point, it won’t matter how much money we made, how athletic we were or how smart we might have been. The Lord has gifted each of us differently in order to bring Him glory. How we invest our gifts is our choice.
So to you reading this, stop looking at the others around you, recognize what God has entrusted to you, and use that gifting for His glory because when it comes down to it, that’s the only thing in this life that really matters.