For whatever reason, the word ‘risk’ keeps going through my mind lately.
Risk standing up for what you believe in- even when people think you are crazy.
Risk taking that first step- even if you don’t know where it will lead.
Risk giving your heart away- even if you know it will hurt.
Risk looking different, being different and living different- in a world where fitting in seems the right thing to do.
This morning when I was flipping through the pages in my bible the Lord brought me to this verse:
Matthew 25:24-25 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, “Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
In this verse there is an element of safety that I have to admit- I can relate to. Play it safe, stay comfortable, the world out there is a cruel place- you must protect yourself and come out on top.
And then I turned to the study notes and here it what it said:
“This man was thinking only of himself. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his hard master, but he was judged for his self-centeredness. We must not make excuses to avoid doing what God calls us to do. If God truly is our Master, we must obey willingly. Our time, abilities and money aren’t ours in the first place- we are caretakers, not owners.”
I am sure admitting to be self-centered is something that most of us are not going to want to do...
so, just to bide my time, I looked up the definition of self -centered and this is what it said:
1. self-centered - limited to or caring only about yourself and your own needs
interested only in one's own affairs; selfish. She's too self-centred to take any interest in my troubles.
And so, I got honest with myself and honest with God... and I challenge you to do the same. Look back over the past week of your life… and then back over the past year. Who or what have you been living for? Now open your checkbook- what do the numbers show? Who or what has been in the #1 spot of your life?
For some of you, it will be the Lord… and I want to say thank you for that. Thank you for the example you are to me and to those around you. You have no idea how many people are watching- and how they are seeing Jesus on earth through your life. For others of us, we have some confessing to do- and it won’t be easy.
So often in my life I admit I have been the one standing, clinging to my bag. And, if I’m honest- it felt good to have ‘something I can cling to.' It felt good to fool myself into somehow thinking that I was safe if I did so. But that my friend is such a lie. It’s not who gets to the end with the most prizes- it’s who gets to the end and hears the words ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.
Yesterday we did home church as a family. As I was listening to David Platt he said these simple words that shook me to the core “It’s better to lose our life than to waste it.”
Did you catch that?
Did you really let it sink in?
If you are living solely for yourself- than your life is considered a waste.
It’s better to have a short existence here on earth and make your life count for His Kingdom- than to live to be 102 years old and have it have counted for nothing- but yourself.
We, you and I, are responsible to use well what God has given us. The issue is not how much we have- but how well we use what we have been given.
If you haven’t already I challenge you to GIVE CHRIST your life. ALL of it. Every single tiny morsal of anything you have been holding tightly in the palm of your hand.
I don’t know what your ‘bag of crops’ looks like- but you do- and so does God. So go ahead and ask Him how you can turn what He has given you into something so much more- for His Kingdom.
I’ll end this with a few more wise words from David Platt that hit home with me. He said: “Christianity which cost nothing- produces the same."
I don’t know about you, but one day when I stand before God I want to have used ALL that He has blessed me with for His glory. I don’t want to try to impress Him with my big house, pedicured nails, and vacation photos… only to hear Him say “I don’t know you." More than anything I want to be dirty, wrinkled, empty handed and exhausted knowing I used it all for His glory.
Dear God, more than anything in this world I want my life to bring YOU glory. Forgive me for the times I have made it about me. Forgive me for the times I hesitated to trust you, the times I let fear stop me from living full and completely for you.Forgive me for the times I put pleasing man in front of pleasing you. Forgive me for the times when I saw a need and I had something to give- only I did not. Help me to release my bags and in joy give you ALL I have and all that I am. In Jesus name. Amen.