Lately, I have seriously felt the weight of using my time wisely. Specifically, I have been led to re-evaluate the manner in which I prioritize my life. I am constantly asking myself, “How does God want me to use my time and resources? How can I use them in a way that is most glorifying to Him?” Now before you jump to conclusions, allow me to go on record in saying that I really try hard to not use my time frivolously. I am very mindful of the amount of time I spend doing leisurely activities such as watching TV or playing my beloved PS4 (just ask all my gaming friends how much I’ve neglected them over the past few months, lol!). In essence, the dissonance that I typically feel is centered on how I spend more hours of my day doing
things that I find less valuable from an eternal perspective. The bulk of my day is spent doing something that I struggle to find or perhaps see eternal relevance. I know this, but my knowledge doesn’t always translate into doing something different. Perhaps it’s because I’m comfortable or maybe it’s easier. But when I think of how God has commanded us to live, and what He has commissioned us to do, I can honestly admit that doing those things is often an afterthought for me. I find myself saying, “Ok God, I’ll do that after I finish this…” I often place a central focus on things like my job, civic engagement, travel, etc., ahead of ministry, discipleship, and full servitude to the body of Christ. Yes, I make time for these things, but I don’t risk it all for those things. And more often than not, I cannot help but say to myself, “Well, shouldn’t I?”
THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
In the Parable of the Talents (found in Matthew 25:14-20) we are presented with a scenario where several servants are entrusted with talents according to each’s ability. According to the Pillar New Testament Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew, “A talent was a measure of weight, not a specific unit of currency.” A talent was actually the largest measurement of weight. Thus, we cannot know exactly how much a talent is worth, but we can conclude that the intent in using the “talent” in this parable is to illustrate the “weightiness” (no pun intended) of the matter at hand. Ok, so back to the story. So, each of these servants are given talents according to each person’s ability. As the Scriptures state, “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” After the man gave the talents and went away, each servant found himself presented with an opportunity to do (or not do) something with what had been entrusted to him. So, the parable continues and highlights how one man took his five talents and made five more. The other man took his two talents and made two more. But the last didn’t do anything significant with his talent. He simply buried it and waited. Once the master returned, he rewarded the two men who had returned to him more than they had been given, but to the last man he rebukes, calling him “wicked and slothful”.
TALENTS, TIME, AND RISK
I tend to think of time much like a talent. While time is not a specific type of currency, it is still very valuable. It’s weighty and not to be wasted away. Just like the servants in this parable, we too have been entrusted with something very valuable. God, the author of time, is the one who gives us an allotted amount of time; each minute is given according to our own ability, of course, with his sovereign plan in mind. We are not given time to expend it frivolously, but instead, we should use it to the best of our ability for the glory of God. Whether we are given 20 years of life, 60 years or even 100 years, we each have been called to use our time faithfully. And here is exactly where I think many of us miss the mark. We forget that the time entrusted to us is not our own. We hoard time just like the servant who buried his talent. We’re afraid to lose something that was never ours from the start. We push back against taking risks with our time for God’s glory because we are afraid of what might be lost in the process. In his book, “Don’t Waste Your Life” John Piper speaks of risking it all for God in this way,
…The motive behind taking risks for the cause of God is not heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s good will, but rather faith in the all-providing, all-ruling, all-satisfying Son of God, Jesus Christ. The strength to risk losing face for the sake of Christ is the faith that God’s love will lift up your face in the end and vindicate your cause. The strength to risk losing money for the cause of the Gospel is the faith that we have a treasure in the heavens that cannot fail. The strength to risk losing life in this world is faith in the promise that he who loses his life in this world will save it for the age to come.
I must admit that this is an area where I need constant reminding. I have a tendency to get so preoccupied with earthly living that I forget what I am actually living for. It’s not my job, my legacy, financial security, or anything else. I am living for the glory of God and this means that every ounce of my life should be consumed with His cause.
MY LOSS, HIS GAIN
In full disclosure, I am seriously wrestling with everything that I’ve written. I know that I have not stewarded my time well. Of all my accomplishments, and all that I’ve done in my 32 years of life, I know that I have not risked it all for God. In fact, I’ve treated risk and wisdom as if the two are mutually exclusive. I’ve hidden much of my decision-making behind the guise of wisdom when, in essence, I’m only using wisdom as a copout for taking godly risks. What has been veiled as wisdom in my life has actually been a way for me to take the safest, most comfortable path of least resistance— a path that makes sense to me, one that won’t be questioned or mocked by humans, one that leads to my anticipated end. Consequently, I’ve found myself paralyzed by fear and suffering; I have been nothing more than a servant who has buried her talent. The truth of God’s Word in Matthew 25 is incredibly piercing to my soul. But I am thankful for this blessed conviction because, right now at this moment, I realize that I still have time. The clock has not run out and the opportunity to risk it all for the cause of God is not lost.
With the utmost sincerity, I pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit, I can live in such a way that reflects profitability for God’s glory, not my own. I pray that I will not be bound by fear, loss, or discomfort. I pray that with every faithful, risk-taking step that I make, I will remember that my loss is God’s gain. As I type, I realize that have no clue what this type of faithfulness and obedience will look like from a practical standpoint. There’s no detailed game-plan or map and I don’t really know what my next move will be. By the way, this is incredibly scary and uncomfortable for me. But thankfully, I don’t have to know all these things. God has not called me to be all-knowing, all-powerful or ever-present; He’s called me to be faithful and I can rest assured knowing that on the other side of faithfulness is the all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present triune God holding me tightly in His hand. In him, nothing will be wasted.