“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“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. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his ability; and straightway took his journey.Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and maketh them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and diggeth in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 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. 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. He also that had received tow talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 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. 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; And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo there thou hast that is thine. 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; Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchanger, said then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 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. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:14-30
Our weekly Christian devotional
My mother is sifting through stacks of old family photos. Her body jerks back in glee as one of them literally makes her laugh out loud.
“Look at this!” Gently, she tosses a yellowed relic onto my lap.
In the photo, I’m wearing a custom-made ‘bag lady’ costume, fashioned from brown paper grocery sacks. The edges of it are carefully scissored into a decorative fringe.
I’m sure you must be thinking: “An ensemble like this really wouldn’t really be complete without a matching hat!”, right? No worries. I happen to be sporting an equally cringe-worthy one.
My buck-teethed former self confidently beams back from the Polaroid; so proud of my ‘special’ fashion creation. Happily perched in the middle of Bartlett Park, the daffodils and cherry blossoms are in full bloom behind me. But, this fourth grader isn’t the least bit concerned that the season happens to be spring, not Halloween. I’m proudly donning my ridiculous homemade costume anyway; no fear and no shame. Pure joy is gleefully written all over my freckled face.
“You were always so…different.” My mom snatches the photo back, clasping it to her chest as if it were gold (fool’s gold, in my opinion.)
Knowing myself now, I can’t believe I actually posed for the photo. The outfit isn’t just embarrassing; by today’s standards it’s practically bully-inducing! Thank God there was no such thing as Instagram or Facebook when I was growing up…
“How could you let me leave the house like that?”
“Because that’s what true love does—it allows you to blossom into yourself…”
“Okaaay…” Cringing at my ancient image, her words have little impact. It’s hard for me to buy what she’s selling. I wish my mom would’ve kept that nice sentiment in her heart and just gotten me an outfit decent enough to justify that cheesy grin I’m sporting.
“Oh, if you ever become a mom, you’ll get it.” She continues on.
“This photo reminds me of your first parent/teacher meeting. I was so anxious to see what your teacher had to say about my precious baby…Do you remember what she said?” Her eyes twinkle like they always do, every time she asks this question.
“Yes, mom.” Ignoring my un-enthusiastic response, she fidgets excitedly in her chair. I’m destined to hear the story–whether I want to or not!
“Julia is certainly a colorful character…She definitely moves to the rhythm of her own drum.” My mother rambles on, not allowing any sighs of exasperation to slow her down.
“I didn’t know what to say! I actually thought the teacher mistook you for another little girl. But then the very next year another teacher said practically the same thing.”
“Gee, thanks for the reminder…” Aren’t mothers great for remembering stuff you’d rather forget?
I really can’t recall a time when I’ve truly blended in. Quite frankly, I’ve always been that one square peg in a sea of round holes.
Throughout the years, many of my friends wanted nothing more than to be part of the ‘in’ crowd; but being different never bothered me. Throughout grade school, junior high and high school, I floated from crowd to crowd, not immersing myself in or identifying strongly with any of them. I guess you could call me a ‘floater.’
To me, the world was filled with such an amazing variety of people and cultures; it never made sense to embrace homogenization. In fact, the very idea sends ripples of fear up my spine, reminding me of Hitler’s dream of utopia, the markings of a true nightmare.
Many Christians have an inner concept of what ‘Christianity’ looks like from the outside. I’ve witnessed a lot of them hamper their unique gifts, talents and calling for…a passionless existence; one that’s been hammered down to blend in with their surroundings.
This certainly couldn’t be what God intended for us! If so, why did He bother being so creative? Why did God make each one of us so unique that not one person shares the same fingerprint or DNA code?
Sure, we’re all supposed to be ‘like Christ’. But, don’t you agree that this would also allow us room to appear and operate very differently? Especially when we consider the fact that God has given each one of us very individual personalities, temperaments and social environments?
Read Matthew 24:14-30. Jesus mentions different amounts of talents that were gifted to different individuals. And, from what I can grasp, I’m not seeing any flavor or personality being sucked out of any of them! It’s obvious that each one has a unique purpose. The lord mentioned in those scriptures definitely seems to respect this. In fact, it’s pretty clear that he only expects them to honor his trust and investment in them.
Many times people use the excuse that they just aren’t ‘talented’ enough to serve God. They compare themselves to the impossible ‘standard’ of a Believer they personally admire. When I read 1 John 4:18, I see that God’s perfect love and acceptance should be enough for every Believer to confidently claim boldness in the specific gifts and talents He has gifted to them as individuals.
What a shame it is to see Christians ignoring the call of God while insulting Him at the same time! Think about it: If we all became clones of each other, how much impact would that really make? Aren’t we called to be light and salt? Don’t both of these things scream: ‘Watch out! Awesome-ness is right here.’ ?
Those who have a true disciple’s heart are willing to use whatever God has given them to be a blessing right back to Him. Please don’t edit God. Don’t limit the limitless one and what He can and wants to do through you!
The only measuring stick Christians are expected to lead their lives with are the principals God has laid out in His word. First, we must honor God’s will and nature. Then it’s our job as believers to trust that He has a very unique and specialized plan for our individual-ness.
So, what are those passions, talents…or even those funky little quirks that make you so uniquely…well, you? Perhaps none of them are anything that that you’d consider amazing. Allow me to encourage you to just trust God with them. Give whatever you have right back to Him. See what He can do when He gets a hold of those pieces of you.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Every morning I get up and wonder where my place is in this world.
How easy I forget that world is not my home; that I’ll only be here for a very short season.
One day, when my life is over, I will have to look in your eyes and give an account for the life I’ve lived. This should be my main concern.
Lord, I have a unique personality that’s filled with quirky gifts and obscure talents. Sometimes, I think I don’t have much I can offer you.
Oh, Lord. I repent for insulting you with those thoughts! You made me and you know the plans you have for me. Who am I to insult the God that took the time to fashion me in my mother’s womb?
Lord, please tell me, what is your vision for my life?
Re-set my sails so I begin moving in the right direction. I’ve been cast about to and fro by my own desires and emotions; not much can be done with my life if I continue to stay this way.
I’m totally lost without you, Lord.
But, everything I have and everything I am is yours. I give you complete permission to take over my life. In Jesus’ name, I trust in your goodness to make something great out of this weak but willing vessel. Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses:Matthew 25:14-30 and 1 John 4:18
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan