Saturday, February 11, 2012

Storing Our Treasures In Heaven

"I can't help it," said Ruby pitifully. "Even if what you say about heaven is true -- and you can't be sure -- it may be only that imagination of yours -- it won't be JUST the same. It CAN'T be. I want to go on living HERE. I'm so young, Anne. I haven't had my life. I've fought so hard to live -- and it isn't any use -- I have to die -- and leave EVERYTHING I care for." Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable. She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true. She WAS leaving everything she cared for. She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life -- the things that pass -- forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other -- from twilight to unclouded day. God would take care of her there -- Anne believed -- she would learn -- but now it was no wonder her soul clung, in blind helplessness, to the only things she knew and loved.
Anne of the Island - Chapter XIV "The Summon"

A few mornings ago, I woke up, shuffled to the kitchen to get my morning coffee, and sat down at the computer. One of the first things I do is check my email for a daily devotional that I receive from Internet Cafe Devotions. Next, like almost any other American, I check my Facebook. One of the leaders from my church back in Michigan had posted in their status the parable of the 5 talents in Matthew 25 ("Talents" refer to Greek money). If you don't know the story, it's about a master who entrusts 3 of his servants each with a certain amount of talents according to their abilities. The first servant, who was given 5 talents, went right away to invest the talents and returned with double the amount. The second servant did the same. However, the third servant buried his one talent and left it there until his master returned.

Their master returned and asked what each servant had done with the talents given to them. The first two came forward and in response the master praised them, saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things! Come and share your master's happiness!"

When the third servant explained what he did (or didn't do) with his talents, the master was furious. He thought that if anything, the servant should have placed the money in the bank so he could at least return it with interest, rather than hiding it out of sight and out of mind. He took the talents from the servant and gave it to the one with 10 talents, saying "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

From these two readings, I feel like God has been trying clarify a few things for me.

1. We need to keep our focus on storing our treasures in heaven. Who wants to be like little Ruby Gillis, afraid to die because everything she ever invested in or cared about was here? That isn't what we were created for, and I think one of Satan's strongest weapons is making us believe that we were created for this world. So we fight through this world, trying to make a name for ourselves, focusing on being successful and famous...for what reason? Money? Prestige?

But...it isn't about us. It never was about us.

2. Use the talents you're given. Do not hide them away to be "practical" or overly cautious. The master called his servant wicked and lazy for doing so! The servant's reasoning made sense. He knew that his master had harvested where he hadn't sown and gathered where he had not scattered seed. But he hid his talent because he was afraid


Have you been given a talent that you're not using? Perhaps you've buried it away because you were afraid. It didn't seem practical. But do you remember what it was like when you were using it? Perhaps it made you come alive. Perhaps that is when you felt closest to God.

There is a reason.

Now, I'm not saying to impulsively dive into things with nothing but feelings to back you up. For instance, I am about to be licensed in Cosmetology. I like cosmetology, I am good at cosmetology. But is it my passion? ...No, not really. But now I feel confident that I will always have a job to help support my family, and that is something I am very happy about. However, I have put my real talents in a little hole I dug and buried them hardly with an afterthought. I felt it was needed as a sacrifice...but now that I'm nearing graduation, I will have more time to dedicate to my true passions. By day I can work in a salon (which has its own perks for creativity and meeting new people), but in my free time I can turn back to my writing and music. If God wants more to come of it, then wonderful. I would love nothing more. It's no secret that making a living from anything that has involvement in the arts is a difficult thing.


Fear.

We need to remember to keep our treasures stored in heaven.

So with that realization I sat down to pray. It sounded a bit like this: "God, I know you have blessed me with many talents. Many talents that are my true passions. Many talents that seem to be the best way in which I've communicated with you and vise versa. More than anything, I want your will to be done in mine and my husband's lives. I have buried some of the talents you have given me and stored my treasures on Earth instead of Heaven. God, I just want to do the right thing in the first place. I don't want to make any movements unless I know for sure that it's what you want, and if you have to wave it in front of my face so that I may figure it out, then please do so!"


Would you believe, God has used my work in Cosmetology to connect me to people that have led me to avenues for the other passions in my life? As long as we are storing our treasures in Heaven, we cannot fail. Sometimes it may seem as though as we are failing, but that's all part of the adventure. Sometimes...things need to be broken down to create something bigger and better. It's in those times when God reminds us that we need Him, and everything does not end here.

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity pp. 136-7


I challenge you today to evaluate your talents. I'm not saying "hey, you probably chose the wrong path in life so you should drop all that right now and start all over again!" What I'm saying is that perhaps you have some talents and passions you were given that you haven't pursued in a long time. Maybe you could dedicate some time to that thing this weekend. Pray about it.

If we invest in our talents, they will multiply and we will have an abundance. So when we get to Heaven, God can say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come and share your master's happiness!"

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