“This is the best thank you note I’ve ever read,” Janet insisted. “Renee, you have a writing gift and you need to use it.” I was confused. It was only a thank you note. Yet, later that day I wondered if God could use me to encourage more than just one friend with my writing. I‘d been asking Him for a place to serve in our church.
His answer came while I drove home from a women’s dinner that Fall. I’d taken notes on a napkin but I wished I had the message outline to look over. Then I got the craziest idea: Maybe I could write a study guide for the dinners to give women who want to go deeper, too. Doubt filtered my idea through reality. Who was I to think I could write something women would want to read?
Several weeks later, I told Janet my idea. She was on the women’s ministry team and told me they’d prayed for a gift to give women after the dinners. Much to my shock they asked me to write a study guide! Although I felt unqualified and insecure, with Janet’s prayers and prodding I wrote it. Over 1000 copies were given away. I wrote another the next year and then another. I never felt able, but I wanted to be available.
I hadn’t always been available. I was more like the third servant Jesus described in Matthew 25:14-30. The servant worked for a business manager who was going out-of-town. He gave each of his three servants individual projects to complete according to their abilities. The first two were given bigger assignments. Maybe they had more experience or were better at multi-tasking. Both gave their time and talents to serve their boss. He was pleased with them when he returned.
The third servant was given less responsibility and he neglected his assignment. Perhaps he thought, “Oh, this little project isn't much, why worry about it? My boss will never notice.” I’ve thought that before.
Were the others given more visible responsibilities? Perhaps envy turned to anger toward his boss making him apathetic about his assignment. His manager was not pleased. I wonder how God feels when I’m not faithful with what He’s assigned to me.
Our Boss is on an out-of-town assignment. He’s asked eachof us to oversee something in His kingdom, according to our God-given abilities. With each ability comes an assignment that holds the possibility of reward or the potential of regret. It doesn’t matter how much or how little God’s given us. What matters is how we use what we’ve been given.
It’s been several years since I wrote that first study guide. It's funny how that was actually the beginning of my speaking and writing ministry. Eventually, God gave me more assignments and just as promised He gave me joy I’d never known. It started with the simple encouragement of a friend and her prayers. But God had more in mind and He took that seed and watered it with the calling of another woman who was simply available. It was all God. He's the One who made me able to give back what He’d given me.
Let's pray...Dear Lord, what abilities have You given me that I don’t see? Show me little things that can make a difference for You and others. I lay down my doubt, my envy and comparison. I want to know the joy of serving you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Read Matthew 25:14-30. List abilities you or others think you do well. List steps you can today to be a good steward of abilities God’s given you.Click here and scroll down to "How did you get started?" at the bottom of this weekend's post if you want to find out what happened after that first study guide.