Saturday, January 28, 2012

Don't You Dare Bury It.

In my pursuit of re-entering the academic world, I met with an advisor at Tennessee State University yesterday morning. She asked me what classes I had taken. As I went through the list on her form, I realized how little focus I had given myself over the last, like, decade. I sometimes wonder if I set the stage for a drawn-out quarter life crisis somewhere in my adolescence. Seriously.

Music? I can play it. I've lived some of that life.

Writing? Someone besides my dad and I thought the book was good and published it. You can buy it for yourself to the right of this post.

Film? I took some courses and went to Vancouver. My name pops up on imdb (for music, but still).

And now I think I want to finish my BA and move toward teaching higher education.

Looking at the list of courses in the advisors office, I wanted to apologize for taking the woman's time and trudge back to the visitors parking lot all Peanuts style.

So why have I decided to take you, my twelve readers, into confidence? Because, of course, I saw a parallel with my life and the Bible.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a story about a business man entrusting talents (a large sum of money in that culture) into the care of three servants. One servant gets five talents, another servant two, and the third one. When the business man returns, the first two servants show how they've doubled the money in their care. Of course the business man is happy. Then the third servant says, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours."

I don't think the business man cared so much about the money. The dude had so much money, John the Baptist wannabes probably camped out on the Jericho Road in protest. So why would he react like this? "But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant!'"

Okay, I know Bible teachers love the ease of comparing money to abilities when it comes to this story. For a long time, as a kid, I thought certainly Jesus was talking about actual talents. Like the first servant could suddenly create oil paintings and play the piano. So maybe it'll sound cliche when I make the same comparison. I don't care. I knew this story and I still treated my talents like something I could hide in the ground and hope God wouldn't mind.

God wants me to use what He's given me, even if it's simply to invest it in other people. I don't think this is a matter of earning God's happiness, but I do think it makes Him happy when we use our gifts and talents. I think this includes creative, administrative, intellectual, and spiritual gifts, among others. Does God measure our success by what we produce? I think not. But if we trust God's confidence in us to use our abilities, I think He takes pleasure in it.

Any other people out there going through a life crisis? What gifts do you feel you have? Are you using them?

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