Monday, January 28, 2019

Talents? What talents?




Image courtesy of fantasista/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with money and am not a subscriber to the prosperity gospel, which has gained significant momentum during the past decade or two. It seems to me that prosperity teachings often place too much emphasis on financial gain for its adherents, instead of giving the glory, and the gain, to God.

Motivation is the lynch pin. If we’re motivated by God’s promptings and our love for our Lord, then any gains that ensue, whether personal or generalized to the community, are pleasing to our Father. I highly suspect that He is further pleased if those gains are in our spiritual development.

If, however, we’re motivated by personal gain – the almighty dollar, status and/or power, for instance – God sees our heart and grieves. God has never been pleased with avarice.
Prosperity gospels take this avarice one step further, however, by using prayer and scripture as a kind of magic. Words can be manipulated into ‘spells’ with relative ease.

And hence my uneasy relationship with money.

In more recent years, though, I’ve noted that not all devoted and genuine Christians hover as closely to the poverty line as I have always done. At first, I thought God had simply chosen to bless them in this manner more than He has blessed me…and I’ve been okay with that. The wind blows where it will, after all. (Alright, let me be perfectly frank, there have been a few times when I’ve pitched headlong into a full-blown pity-party, at least for a few minutes, but I do try awfully hard to snap out of it.)

After a fortuitous conversation with a beautiful Christian woman several weeks ago, it dawned on me that I’ve been missing something vitally important all these years. And it all boils down to a deeper understanding of scripture, specifically, the Parable of the Talents.
The Parable of the Talents, as many of you will recall, appears twice in the synoptic gospels of the New Testament. (Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27)

In both Matthew and Luke, a master puts three of his servants in charge of his finances while he travels further afield. To each he gives a specific amount without any instruction about how to handle it.

‘To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another, one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.’     Matthew 25

(Note: As it happens, a ‘talent’ is worth a great deal of money in today’s terms – according to my research it’s equal to approximately 1.5million US dollars!)

When the master returns home he asks each of his servants what they’ve done with the money he entrusted to them. It’s clear he expected some profit from the servants’ stewardship and he compensates them accordingly. To the two servants who doubled their profits, he gives rich reward but to the servant who played it safe and made no attempt to grow his riches, he meters out a negative compensation.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/gameanna

As with all the parables, Jesus is attempting to teach us a spiritual truth here and it’s definitely not just about money. Everything we have comes from God, be it dollars in the bank, our homes and possessions, our talent for writing (or painting, or woodwork or cooking – the list is endless), or our spiritual gifts. And our Master is waiting patiently for us to make the most of what we have; not to merely hoard it and look after it, but to use it wisely and watch it grow. For HIM.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/nalinratphi

 
We’re writers, you and I, and I’ve come rather late to the party in that I’m only just realizing that God wants me to step up, to take a few risks, to get out there amongst it and get some books happening! In other words, I need to be head down and tail up as often as time permits. No more procrastination. No more false humility. No more finding a myriad more chores that need to be attended to first.

Many of you are already accomplished writers and continue to be an ever-present source of inspiration and encouragement. Your words have fed my soul. I’ve been given much, it seems, and it’s about time I gave God some return on His investment.

Hmmm…it’s been a sobering realization and also a precious one. (And while I think of it, it’s probably also a good time to refinance that mortgage of mine!)


Melinda Jensen blogs extensively on emotional and psychological abuse and is currently enjoying a sea change from writing fiction to writing non-fiction, self-development books. Who'd have thought? A keen student of human nature, she's had articles, short stories and poetry published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and journals, having juggled single-motherhood and chronic illness for about 24 years. She's still almost sane and definitely has a heart for God and a yearning to bring a couple of books to fruition this year. Apart from that, she's besotted with cats, makes jolly good fudge and is desperately trying to keep her garden alive in the drought.


12 comments:

  1. Hi Melinda, thanks for these thoughts, from a fellow breadliner :) Even when finances are a challenge, it is indeed time to buckle down and focus on using all we've been given in 2019.

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    1. Hi Paula and I'm sorry to hear you face similar issues with regard to finances. But we can still add a tremendous value to this world, I think. Your contributions to CWD are extremely valuable to so many of us. I'll keep you in my prayers as I know all too well, how difficult the struggle is.

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    2. I'd really appreciate it if you would :)

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  2. Thanks Melinda. I enjoyed that and agree with most of your thoughts expressed. Go for it! I'll be hoping for a productive year too.

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    1. Hi Jeanette! I think this year might be a change of tactics for many of us with regard to our writing. Glad you enjoyed my post. Let's keep our hopes up. :)

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  3. A great reminder, Melinda. God has definitely given you brilliant talents in writing and art, and it's great to see you using them for his glory. Will look forward to seeing those books come out.

    I'm almost finished the novel, but God's also given me ideas for several nonfiction books (as well as three more novels!). It seems overwhelming at times because I have no idea how I'm going to write all of these things, but he's been showing me how even little things can grow quickly if we keep chipping away. Just a couple of hundred words a day, five days a week, and we could have a book by the end of the year. Let's keep spurring each other on. I'm looking forward to seeing that budgeting book of yours. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Sorry for my tardy reply. I had to finish my youngest daughter's birthday cake and then go celebrate with her. How did she get to be 29 years old so fast?

      And...so...you're nearly finished your novel???!!! That's so exciting and I'm thrilled for you. I'm also lining up for a signed copy, okay?

      And yes...one step at a time. I find that pacing is a key to productivity and we can, indeed, achieve much with a steady approach. Yet it takes discipline and that's where I've been falling down. This year will be different. Catch you soon. xo

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  4. Wise words, expressed with grace and encouragement. Thanks Melinda. I am spurred on by the knowledge that the time, energy, financial, and headspace commitment I make to writing is a righteous and faithful investment of the blessings God has given.

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  5. A great reminder, Melinda. Thanks for the post.

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  6. Hi this was a good lesson.God gave me a task to write 4 parables for children in rhyme and illustrate them myself (even though I hadn't picked up paintbrush in 40 years eeeek!) He showed me Kindness, Love, Talents and Forgiveness as being the 4 things to bring into the stories.I have published The Good Samaritan (Kindness) and The Prodigal Son (a Fathers Love!) is about to be published in April and as you've probably guessed the next one is the 5 Talents (which is relevant ti this lol) and then the parable of the King forgiving the servants debt (Forgiveness)Reading your little blog about talents has cemented in my mind what he showed me :-) I have always believed that He wants great riches for us, that the issue is us knowing what is Wealth (Love of what we can do with the money to grow His Kingdom) and what is Mammon (Love of money) We can't influence without money (even Mother Teresa needed funds) and I guess that in a way I have been lucky to be a new Born Again Christian because I was never taught we should be poor. I was taught right off the bat that He has abundance for us all if we steward it right and give him all the Glory. Thank you for your insight! Good luck with your book.

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  7. Hi this was a good lesson.God gave me a task to write 4 parables for children in rhyme and illustrate them myself (even though I hadn't picked up paintbrush in 40 years eeeek!) He showed me Kindness, Love, Talents and Forgiveness as being the 4 things to bring into the stories.I have published The Good Samaritan (Kindness) and The Prodigal Son (a Fathers Love!) is about to be published in April and as you've probably guessed the next one is the 5 Talents (which is relevant ti this lol) and then the parable of the King forgiving the servants debt (Forgiveness)Reading your little blog about talents has cemented in my mind what he showed me :-) I have always believed that He wants great riches for us, that the issue is us knowing what is Wealth (Love of what we can do with the money to grow His Kingdom) and what is Mammon (Love of money) We can't influence without money (even Mother Teresa needed funds) and I guess that in a way I have been lucky to be a new Born Again Christian because I was never taught we should be poor. I was taught right off the bat that He has abundance for us all if we steward it right and give him all the Glory. Thank you for your insight! Good luck with your book.

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  8. Sorry! That comment published twice - this is Jan Morris (Janet Elizabeth Author) a member of the group

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