30 Apr Blessings and Burdens.
What happens when your blessing becomes a burden?
Wait! Do not click off. I promise it will all make sense in a minute.
Seriously —- what happens when you finally get the thing you asked God for, and then it gets complicated; it gets uncomfortable. This thing starts to require more of you than you think you have to give it. It feels that in giving you this blessing, your God is requiring more of you than you feel you are capable of providing.
I mean, if God blessed you (me, us) with it, then — He would make it easy for us, amIright?
Has that ever happened to you?
God blessed you with something; a husband, a promotion, a business idea, a baby, a house, or just something you really wanted, and maybe, you didn’t even know you wanted it until God — saw fit to bless you with it (He’s good like that). But — then the pieces of that blessing (the fine print, the nuances) start to overwhelm you.
Perhaps, you were not prepared for the sleepless nights that the baby brought or the responsibilities that came with the new house? Maybe, just maybe your new job required a quicker pace, a leveling up that your current set of skills did not allow.
So many of us want a blessing that costs us nothing.
Screaming, “myself included!” as I am struggling with this very thing, I am reminded of a story in the gospel of Matthew called the parable of the talents.
In this story, Jesus tells the disciples of a master who was leaving his house to travel and, before leaving, entrusted his property to his three servants. The property entrusted to the three servants was worth eight talents, where a talent was a significant amount of money. Upon returning home, after a long absence, the master asks his three servants for an account of the talents he entrusted to them. The first and second servants explain that they each put their talents to work and have doubled the value of the property with which they were entrusted; each servant was rewarded:
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
However, the third servant had merely hidden his talent, burying it in the ground, and was punished by his master.
This dualism of stewardship and neglect is mind-blowing in this story. You have three servants. Two of them seek to nurture (see: steward) what was given. But one buries it in the ground and does not want to nurture it (see: I’m tired!). The first two – although different — see the burden of nurturing as an opportunity to serve their master. But, the one who buries it — considers the duty of the blessing as inconvenient and doesn’t want the responsibility.
Isn’t it interesting that so often we take what God gave us and we “bury it” or just keep it for ourselves? And the Lord knows that we do not mean to do this. Most of us think along the lines of – the Lord gave me this, and I am protecting it. But – Women of Judah, this is never God’s goal when He gives out a blessing.
Maybe you have been praying so long for something, and when you finally receive it, you think – IT IS FINISHED! The Lord has blessed me, now on to the next.
Your thought is that God – blessed you just for “you” to receive it and possess it. And while that is part of it, it is never all of it. God blesses us so that we can BE A BLESSING. When he gives you something, he creates an opportunity for you to be a ministry.
He gave you the husband to properly serve as an example to your children and other young couples around you.
He gave those children to properly steward and raise the next generation of leaders.
He gave you the job – to learn and to grow, but also to bless others with your knowledge and to increase your giving.
He gave you those fantastic friendships to nurture, encourage and grow – other women.
He gave to us; God blesses us, with the expectation that we will (would) develop what it is.
And the evolution and richness of the blessing’s potential depend on this.
“Benefiting from a blessing doesn’t come through the initial receiving; it comes from taking care of it over time.” Nurturing the seed is what produces fruit and produces joy for you and for everyone else involved.
After the first servant shows that he doubled his talents in the parable, the master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
But he was disappointed in the servant, who has no growth to show for what he has been given.
“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So, you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned, I would have received it back with interest.”
I am ashamed when I read this parable through a different lens. Have I been tending to what God has given to me or have I been expecting what God gave me to nurture me?
Woman of Judah, it is in the tending, the sharing with, and the caring for — that we can see the glory of God’s blessings to us. They multiply and begin a ripple effect of mercy, that spreads not only over us, but over those he intended us to extend that blessing to in the first place.
How are you allowing your blessings to flourish?
Don’t forget to ask the same God, that gave you the blessing – to provide you with the wisdom, grace, and the ability to take your blessing and become a blessing.