The Ordinary for His Glory
In the call to follow Christ, we find a call to do ordinary life in a way that exalts our holy God. “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Life is so filled with the ordinary. Everyday activities like making a meal, making the bed, going to work and doing your job, conversing with your spouse and kids, driving the kids to practice, we usually do without thought. But when we are living in obedience to our Creator, as his agents in creation, these things can bring Him glory. These things can help bring Kingdom life and treasure to the world around us.
Some of us live lives where there are few choices and decisions we can make make. Because of finances, or jobs, or family needs, it seems most of our decisions are made for us. And that may be. But the way we carry them out, with love, grace and strength, we can multiply their impact for the Kingdom. They become part of our witness.
William Law in his book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, might refer to this as a 1 talent life. Remember that parable?* The master goes away and he gives three of his servants some of his wealth. To one, he gives 5 talents. To the second, he gives 2 talents. And the third, he gives 1 talent. When he comes back he wants to know what happened to his wealth. The 5 talent servant, made 5 more. The 2 talent servant made 2 more. The 1 talent servant hid it under a rock out of fear. He didn’t make anything of it.
We may feel like we have a 1 talent life, but the way we use it to bless others creates new Kingdom treasure, which honors our King. A 1 talent life isn’t a life without opportunity. Make a meal and eat it with gratitude. Mow the yard to bless the neighbors. Create space to be with God’s people in worship. Visit a friend to encourage their mental and spiritual health. We may be limited in a 1 talent life, but even the small things of our lives can make a kingdom impact.
Those Who Have More
But let me talk to the 2 and 5 talent people. For most of us in the Western world, God has blessed us well beyond the 1 talent. God has given us more than we need. We have the freedom of choice. We have discretionary time – time not committed to carrying out necessary duties. We have a little more money than is needed to pay rent and utilities. We have have homes that are bigger than we need and we have more cars than we can drive at one time. To you and I there is greater responsibility because there is greater opportunity to turn 5 into 10, or 2 into 4.
We like our freedom. We like greater wealth. We like nicer possessions. We collect cars, homes and clothes. We plan our work-years in such a way that we can plan to have long periods of leisure. The question that nags at me is, “What did you do with what I gave you?” “Did you turn the 5 into 10, or did you spend the 5 on you?”
More Freedom Doesn’t Free Us
Law warns us about how we use our freedom, our surplus. He wrote, “those [who have more] are so far from being left at greater liberty to live for themselves, to pursue their own humours (enjoyments), and spend their time and fortunes as they please, that they are under greater obligations of living wholly unto God in all their actions.” (Law, p.49) As servants of God, we are never free to use God’s gifts our way. He has given them to us, so we would have opportunity to please him and increase the presence of God’s Kingdom on earth.
I’m not writing as one who has it all figured out. This teaching doesn’t comfort me. It challenges me to see every area of my life as belonging to the One who loves me and saved me. This is the place where the gospel of God becomes more than Sunday morning platitudes. It speaks to me in the way I make my bed, the subscriptions I pay for, and the generosity I show toward the world around me.
Agree? Disagree? Like? or Dislike? Where are you?
- Matthew 25:14-30 – ESV 14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’