School has begun. Dance and soccer practices are on the calendar. You’re starting to think of the Fall Festivals and pinning holiday, decorating ideas you see on Pintrest late at night. It’s a new season. It’s a new start.
As the calender fills up, are you making time to be in the Word? Oh yes, it’s essential- that one-on-one time with our Abba. Yes, it’s just as important to get involved in a Bible study with others as it is to have coffee in the morning. How beautiful times are when you’re in communion with other women reading God’s truth, applying it to your lives and praying together. Oh, the feeling of the Bible laying open in your lap, holding onto your favorite coffee mug that will warm your insides while God’s promises and your conversations warm your soul.
September 14 and September 21 is Ministry Expo at SMC during all services (except the 5pm on the 21st). There’s going to be so many amazing Bible studies to check out and sign up for. We’re hoping there will be one that’s just right for you (and your calendar).
As the Word says, “When we come together something beautiful will happen as we are encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Romans 1:12)
Let’s come together…
July’s activities are now memories as we start our last summer month. Looking back over the past two months, what’s been happening in your faith journey? Today, Susan Disher shares with us what’s been going on in her heart.
This summer I have been pondering and praying.
I have been pondering hard questions found in books. Questions that make me suck in my breath and want to hold it because I am afraid of the answer that will seep out.
“What do you want me to do while I am here?”
“What is the theme of my heart?”
“What is my God purpose?”
”If God is really real and I am going to live with him forever shouldn’t he be the only thing?”
“What if my life was going so beautifully because I wasn’t chasing after God?”
“What would my life look like if I would completely abandon my life to God and chase after him?”
And I am stopped cold by the statement in Luke 14: “…anyone of you who do not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Everything I have, all the stuff I have accumulated, all of my little gods, everything that I love other than him was never going to work. I was made for his glory and his glory only.
Jesus says the way we glorify God, the way we step into his story is by accomplishing the work God gives us to do.
Acts 20:24 says: “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Or as The Voice states: “finish my race…fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me…gladly tell the good news of God’s grace.”
That is the race I have been given…this is my part in his story. “Lord, you can have me for anything while I am here.” Gutsy statement made with shaking knees but with a strengthened heart.
As Luke 1:38 says: “Let it be with me just as you say.”
But my finish line is coming upon me faster than it ever has. I am in the last one-third of my life, a very sobering thought. I need to order my days, be deliberate in my ordinary, and be intentional in my walking. What does my work look like? How do I go about telling of God’s grace? By letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.
So I keep pondering and storing thoughts and whisperings in my heart to bring out on cloudy days and doubting days and days that don’t shine bright with God’s promise in my eyes. Days that I feel alone and lost, and wonder, “what am I doing here?”
It has been a summer of pondering and praying. Prayers have been said for our niece and her husband as they faithfully watch their newborn fight a courage journey into a healthy life. Prayers uttered in the silence of doubt for a mother of 9 children fighting stage 4 cancer with unbelievable grace for the last 3 years. Walking by neighbor’s houses, I pray for the families unsure if they know the Lord.
Names circled in red and knots tied tight for spouses sacrificing to care for each other, friends with aging parents, a sweet friend whose life has been swept off its mooring; prayers that have been shouted out loud and whispered softly and uttered in groaning.
So as I ponder and I pray, I am once again brought back to the truth that the Lord is my portion and I will wait for him, abiding in his love. Beth Moore states in Praying God’s Word: “…We dwell no further from His side than the place we are most keenly aware of His great affection. Place your ear against the chest of the savior so that, when troubled times come, you may not know what will befall you, but you can hear the steady pulse of the boundless love of him who holds you.
Pondering, praying, and now abiding, have become my summer “ordinaries”, the daily rhythm of God time.
I hope the same for you.
I wish Jesus had not said that…
…Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.
(Luke 12:48, ESV)
If ever there was a statement I wish Jesus had not said, it would be this one. When I first read it, I was absolutely terrified! I immediately began to ponder… “what will Jesus require of me?!” I started making a mental inventory of what I thought had been given to me. “I can do this…or I can do that…but, PLEASE do not ask me to do that…!” Jesus quickly reminded me that He was the Giver of the talents (gifts, abilities) and ultimately, they belonged to Him. Whatever He would “require” was at His discretion. It was not up to me.
I knew one thing for certain…it called for personal action and accountability on my part. Not excuses!
The present day usage of the word “talent,” to indicate an ability or gift, is actually derived from the “Parable of the Talents” found in Matthew 25:14-30. In this story, we read of a wealthy individual who is going away on a long journey and entrusting three of his servants with His property. He knew them well enough to know what they were capable of, in that he gave to each according to their ability. They knew that one day the master would return and they would have to give an account for how they managed what had been entrusted to them.
The first two servants immediately took their allotment and worked to double it. The third servant buried his one talent in the ground and offered excuses for why he did nothing with it, when the master returned.
In Romans 12:6 (NLT), we see that, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Cor. 12:4-6, NIV)
Like the servants in this parable, we have a choice. We have been entrusted by our Master (Jesus) with spiritual gifts, abilities, experiences, skills, journeys, training, etc. all of which make us unique. God has a plan for your life and invites you and me to join Him in making a difference in His Kingdom.
… To whom much has been given, much is required.
Will we make excuses that will sideline us… fear, insecurity, making comparisons, apathy, busyness, too old, dealing with our own stuff, or flat out disobey? Or will we make ourselves available…even if we do not know what it will require of us.
I can tell you this…
1) You can never out-dream God. He has a way of multiplying our efforts to do so much more than we can possibly imagine.
2) The rewards of using your “talents” for the glory of Jesus far out-weigh any sacrifices in our personal lives.
To hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much (put you in charge of many things). Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21) is the greatest reward of all!
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2, NIV)
Now it’s YOUR turn! I’d love for you to share your thoughts on one or two of these questions that I’m challenging you to think about and answer. You can comment below so we can learn from and encourage one another!
What is your response to Jesus’ teaching on “to whom much is given, much is required?” Does that excite you or reveal personal anxiety/fear? Why?
Have you been like the servants who invested and multiplied the “talents” they received or like the one who hid the talent? Why?
If you’re using your talents, I’d love for you to share what it is the Lord has “entrusted” you to do.