Two people today posted the same statement on Facebook. They said they felt overwhelmed and didn’t know how to handle responsibilities. My immediate impulse was to quote the verse that says, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2) Lately I’ve been hearing people share about the need from more income, the need to hurry and get things accomplished, the frustration about not being able to do the good work God has called us to fast enough for various reasons.
My husband reminded me yesterday about the time spent in prayer by great men of the faith — Jesus Christ Himself spent all night in prayer. David wrote songs of prayer by the scores. Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and many others spoke about how, the busier the day was going to be, the more hours, in proportion, they needed to spend in prayer. These are people who didn’t have the internet to do research, a computer to type with, or even, in many cases, running water or electricity. But they accomplished more than we do.
So I have to go back to the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was doing a good work, showing hospitality. Mary was sitting around being lazy. Wait. No. She was sitting listening to the teaching of Christ. She chose the good part. Jesus said it wouldn’t be taken from her. So, if we get so busy we say we don’t have enough time to do what needs to be done, who took that time away from us? We did it to ourselves, when we took away our time in prayer and sitting at Christ’s feet.
But we need to take action too, to use what God gives us to do His work. The morning message at our church was about the three servants who were given talents. They got five, three, and one, based on their abilities. Five talent guy wasn’t jealous of the other two because they had less work or less responsibility. And Three wasn’t treated any differently than five when they came to report to the master and receive their rewards. They were each rewarded according to their abilities and what they’d done with them.
What happened to One Talent Guy? He wasn’t overwhelmed. The master knew what his abilities were, so he didn’t give him something too hard. One Talent Guy just decided to blame his failure on his boss. He insulted the man who had entrusted him with responsibility. He said he “knew” his master, but could only claim he was scary and greedy. The one talent, with which he did nothing, was taken away, and Five Talent guy got it. One Talent Guy got tossed out into outer darkness. Pretty stiff punishment for just not doing anything, huh?
People talk about sins of commission and sins of omission. One of our big sins of omission was what I talked about at the beginning, not praying enough or spending enough time in God’s presence. Apparently another big one is not doing anything with what God gives you. God knew One Talent guy. God gave him a job. He didn’t hang over him and hound him to make sure it got done.
But One Talent Guy screwed up, and he tried to blame his master. What that means is that he didn’t know the master. So he is like the people pretend they are believers, but who don’t spend the time getting to know God in prayer and study of His Word. Be careful that you know your Master. If you don’t, you might end up like One Talent Guy.
Photo of El Capitan from National Parks Services.