Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I think all of us wonder at some point or other how we are doing on God’s scorecard. Some of us take a negative view of the scorecard --- let me count my sins, which can lead me to worry about my sins. Some of us take the opposite view --- let me count my accomplishments, which might lead to pride or self-satisfaction, thinking how great God must be rating me. And some of us don’t look at the bad or the good of the past, but look forward to what we might accomplish in the future. Regardless of what we did before, we ask ourselves: Can I do better?
I usually take that latter view of things. (Perhaps I’m just too scared to think of how God might be rating my past.) Looking forward, I think of the parable of the talents and how God has blessed me greatly, from the country I was born in to the place I live now. He has blessed me greatly --- and, as the parable of the talents explains, He expects a return on those talents He gave me, those blessings. That’s His real scorecard, I think: it’s not just whether I did poorly or did well, it’s how I did with the talents I had.
If I’m on a major league baseball team and I realize God is only counting victories, I’ll schedule every Little League team I can find --- we’ll slaughter them all. But God will look at those victories AND my talents and say: “That was nothing at all; you wasted all those talents.” Conversely, if I am a Little Leaguer and I can’t remember which hand the glove goes on or how to hold the bat, he won’t hold all my losses against me.
There is one thing wrong about my examples though, the talents God gave me are with me throughout my life, and I can not only use those talents when I am a child, but I can hone those talents as I grow, and use them even better as an adult. So, maybe I CAN win some games against other inept Little League teams, and maybe as an adult I use my improved talents to lead a major league team to victory against other very good teams. Throughout my life, I can improve the talents God gave me to do even better things, to give Him the return He expects on His gifts.
While we can direct our lives toward using the talents God gave us, it is also important to remember that God also had plans for our lives: He saw us even in the womb. The meshing of God’s plans with our plans is sometimes just a matter of timing. If we become aware of God’s plans, and we see the opportunities He is laying out before us, we can see the perfect fit of our talents and His opportunities, and we can accomplish so much more than whatever we might plan alone. I know some great stories of people who were open to God’s plans, and were able to use the talents He gave them to do remarkable things. I’ll tell them to you some day.
Meanwhile, look at the picture above. What do you see? A lot of open sky and gray clouds. Remember the picture from a couple of weeks ago? There was a big tree there, filled with birds looking for God’s light of day. I saw those birds in that big old tree for months and months, and finally decided to take the picture and tell you their story. Two weeks later the tree has fallen, and I don’t know why. I do know that if I had waited until today, I couldn’t have told you the story of two weeks ago. I couldn’t have meditated on the message that perhaps God was telling me there. It would have just been a curiosity --- hey, I remember there used to be a big tree there; I wonder what happened. And I would quickly forget about it. It would have been an opportunity, a little whisper from God, that I was too busy to stop and listen to, and to look at. And on God’s scorecard might have been been written: “A pitch right down the middle, and he just stood there looking at it – strike one.”
Has God been throwing you any pitches lately? Regardless of all that’s going on in the stands around you, you have to be ready, or it will just pass you by. He’s out there throwing you simple under-handed tosses, ones you can hit out of the park --- if you’re ready. It’s all about good timing. He’s giving you every opportunity to use your talents to their fullest. Or you can stand there making YOUR plans for the girl or guy in the stands, dreaming about your victory, and lose the game.
Just remember what the trophy, for victory in this game of your life, is.