Earley: Time and talents used to God’s glory

Take a few minutes and think about the things you do with your time.

Do you spend most of your time working outside the home?

Are you a homemaker?

Are you involved in your children’s or grandchildren’s activities?

Do you volunteer your time to worthy civic and church groups?

Is any of it your time?

Isn’t all time given to us by God?

Now think about the gifts God has given you to accomplish all this.

In what areas of work and leadership are you most talented? Perhaps you excel at planning, public speaking, teaching, caring, sewing, artistic expression or singing.

It is an integral part of our faith to remember the gift of all these talents has been given to us by God to serve and glorify God’s name.

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the “Parable of the Talents.”

To the two servants who take the master’s money and invest it wisely, the master praises them, but further challenges them with the words, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant … you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things…”

When God has given us talents, we are to use them. In so doing, God will entrust us with even more responsibility.

The third servant simply buried his master’s money. For not doing anything with it, he lost what he had and was judged unfaithful.

None of us wants to be like the third servant. The Protestant work ethic is strongly influenced by this parable.

But I want you to ask yourself if all the things you are involved in are done to use God’s gifts to glorify God’s name, or do you find yourself living a busy life?

Jesus’ lesson in the home of Mary and Martha is instructive at this point (Luke 10:38-42).

Martha is taking care of all the guests. She has the gift of hospitality.

Her sister, Mary, is listening to Jesus teach.

Expecting Jesus to support her, Martha asks him to make Mary help her take care of the guests.

Instead, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

When I look at these texts together, I think Jesus challenges us not only to use our God-given talents to God’s glory, but also to seek Jesus first before we do so.

That way our work will not merely be busywork, or worse, done for our own glory.

I remember a day when I was at a crossroads concerning my involvement as a scoutmaster in Boy Scouts. I had been a leader for years, but my sons were grown and gone, and I didn’t know what to do next.

I hadn’t resigned because the other parents had asked me to use my years of experience to continue to guide the troop, but my heart wasn’t in it.

I had come to that place where my scout work was just busy work. A wise friend challenged me to go and pray about what God wanted concerning my work as a scoutmaster.

I set aside some time to go on a prayer retreat and ask God what He wanted.

That was an amazing experience. God spoke to my soul with new challenges that invigorated my commitment to scouting.

He directed me to get more training, add a leadership component to our troop mission and take time each meeting to teach the scouts what it means to follow the Scout Law and who God is.

He let me know He wanted me to remain in scouting because it was a tool He used in my life to keep me young.

That was a decade ago, and I am still as excited about teaching boys to become men through scouting as I have ever been.

How is God calling you to use the talents He has given you to His glory?

Are you just too busy to know for sure?

Make a list of the ways you spend the time God has given you each day. Include the areas you volunteer and serve others.

Now take some quiet time to pray, and let God’s quiet voice speak to your soul and give you some guidance.

What activity do you spend the most time at each day?

Do you think of it as a ministry?

How would your vocation, for example, be different if you worked with the focus on serving the Lord rather than earning money?

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous columns, see www.lagrangepres.com.