I really enjoy all of the diverse and unique opportunities for service that come along with my job, but there are seasons when it becomes a little bit overwhelming.
Over the past week and a half, I have officiated my sister’s wedding in Syracuse, spoken and led worship at a youth work trip in West Frankfort, Illinois, presented a seminar on developing intergenerational connections between youth and senior adults and performed original music for at the ABC USA Biennial Mission Summit in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
They have all been amazingly rewarding experiences, and each of them has served to open avenues to other opportunities for service. Sitting on the backside of all of these events, it’s easy to reflect fondly on all of the positive aspects of what has taken place, but in the midst of doing the work of preparing and planning for the opportunities, I began wondering if it was worth the effort.
Several times over the last several months, I’ve found myself confronted by a new thought. I’ve even verbalized it to my wife several times. I’ve said, “I wish I would’ve said no to this opportunity. It’s just too much work.”
While I will be the first to admit that I probably could afford to say no a little more frequently, I have an issue with the attitude behind the no. I never want to avoid an opportunity just because it is hard or because it requires work on my part. Any opportunity of worth will require effort.
Whether it is carrying out the tasks of daily life at home, school or work, a special opportunity across the country or even a vacation with family and friends, every opportunity requires some level of planning and preparation. Every opportunity requires some expenditure of time and energy. Every opportunity requires us to spend some of the valuable capital of our lives.
The question we have to answer is this: Is what we are spending our lives on going to bring a return that is worth the investment being made? If I have to spend my life on something, I want to spend it on something that matters. I want to spend every “penny” of my life possible pointing people to Jesus.
I think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he told the story of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. In the story, a rich man entrusts each of his servants with a certain amount of money that they are to care for while he’s gone.
As the story goes on, it’s revealed that these servants know the expectation is that they will do work with what they’ve been given and provide a return in the future. This isn’t an instance where they are simply meant to protect his property. He’s giving them an awesome opportunity.
Two of the servants get after it and are able to double the initial investment. One servant buries the money in the ground and only returns what he was originally given. In the end, the servant that sat on the investment went away empty-handed, while the servants that doubled the investment were entrusted with more responsibility.
That seems to be the way it works in most arenas in life. The more we spend our lives wisely on the opportunities we’re given, the more avenues open up to other opportunities. It will always require effort on our part.
In Romans 12:1, we’re encouraged to offer our lives as living sacrifices. In this verse, the Apostle Paul is pointing us to the most logical way we should be spending our lives as Christians. When we consider the death Jesus died on the cross for us, it makes perfect sense that we would live our lives to point people to him. We’re all in the process of spending the capital of our lives.
I can think of no better way to spend our lives than to invest it in helping others find the same full and eternal life we’ve found through faith in Jesus.
The Rev. Dr. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com.
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