There I was….
Each servant was given silver to manage while the master was away. The first doubled his 5 bags and he heard the master say:
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! Matthew 25:21
The second also doubled his and received the same praise from his master. The third however, hid his bag of silver, merely returning it to the master. The master did not withhold his anger, chastising him for not even earning a little interest at the bank.
I felt a bit strange, not really awake, but not asleep either. I saw a vision, me standing in the courtyard of a fortress (you know, like those in civil war times made with logs). The massive gate was open. Calmly I stood there as my gaze shifted back and forth; looking at the strength of the mighty wood walls one minute, then peering through the gate to see the lush trail meandering through the field and off into the forest the next. Seemed real as life. I could feel my emotions struggle within me….. Security vs Adventure. Plain as day.
At that point I knew that I had to pursue the path of adventure. I wanted to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I could not hide in “safety”, burying my bag of silver. Honestly, the sense of excitement and freedom welling up in me as I thought about the trail was overwhelming.
I had this vision almost 2 years before I left my job of 21 years to become a financial advisor with a purpose. I have to say there is nothing quite like pursuing the path of adventure with a Master who loves adventure and wants to celebrate with his faithful servants!
What strikes me now as I write about this more than 15 years later is the rest of what the master says to his faithful servant; “You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.” As I reflect on what was happening back then, prior to experiencing this vision I was really beginning to lean into God. I had been reliably doing a daily devotional for over a year, had started tithing, was serving at my church, had joined a small group… In retrospect, I realize I was being faithful handing this “small amount” so he called me to take on more responsibilities. But here’s what hit me. I did make the bold step and take on the greater responsibilities of my new work as a financial advisor. Now years later, I have again heard, “Well done my good and faithful servant”, which leads me to: “…so now I will give you many more responsibilities.” Like it or not, God does not call us to rest on our laurels or past blessings.
After faithfully completing one responsibility, God calls us to take on many more responsibilities.
I wonder what the servant who had finished his task by doubling his 5 bags of silver felt like when he was given more bags? I suspect the strange feelings that can come with transition: Honor, excitement, fearfulness, pressure, inadequacy…. As I think about it, I have struggled with being in this spot for closing in on two years now. It’s tough to be at the point of completion of one responsibility but prior to diving into the next. A time of one thing “dying” and another beginning to take root, but this is the way God works. Jesus said:
24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. John 12:24-25
That kernel of wheat, the fruit from the previous harvest, must be planted to produce the next harvest. This is hard!
Do you have the courage to plant your “grain of wheat” from your recent harvest to produce the next harvest?
I was listening to a Dr. Tony Evans message the other day and he explained how a blessing can turn into a curse. You see, it is easy for us to become comfortable. So many have been blessed, but then become reliant on the blessing inadvertently forgetting where the blessing came from. One of my favorite Proverbs is:
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. Proverbs 30:9
Can you see how a rich man might begin to rely on the blessing, his money, more than God? A blessing can hold us hostage.
When I worked to develop new products in the medical device industry, we would struggle to justify launching new products that would obsolete older profitable products. Don’t cut off the hand that feeds you, right? The blessing of the older product’s profitability hindered us. It’s hard to obsolete money making products. To reset our thinking we used to say, “If we don’t do it, someone else will.” Companies that do this right thrive, those that don’t, don’t.
When we come to this point in our life adventure, the emotional tensions are incredible; a huge tug of war. On one hand the voices in your head say, “Stay put. Life is good, why take a chance?” You might even hear, “God has blessed me so much. I’d hate to make a change, turning away God’s blessing.” On the other side, the voices are full of life and intrigue. “I will be challenged to grow. Life is too short to waste. I really could do more. This could be fun and fulfilling!”
You’re at the crossroads again. Which way to turn?
God’s #1 desire for us is intimacy with him and this comes with venturing into our new responsibilities, but he doesn’t call on us to be foolish or reckless for the sake of seeking intimacy. In other words, he doesn’t want us to throw ourselves off a cliff so he can save us. (Remember the second temptation of Jesus? “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”.) He wants us to be wise and live well – not burry our bag of silver, but be smart about it. God formed Wisdom before he made anything else; obviously this should be a priority for us as it is important to him!
What God has led me to do in these situations (a key principle in the Mission Curve™ process described in my book, Unlock Your Life) is to start moving in the direction of my new, greater responsibility, while maintaining my current responsibilities. To start walking first. We handled obsoleting older profitable products in favor of new products this way; launching the new product and obsoleting the older product at some point later on. Notice the overlap of the curves in the Mission Curve™ diagram: the upper curve represents the new responsibility which begins prior to the end of the older curve. While this strategy may not always be possible, a vast majority of the time it is. Not only does this mitigate risk, it helps you build momentum so when you do make the full Jump, you are already moving in the right direction.
It’s also so important to notice that each new responsibility should align with your Life Mission (God powerfully takes you deeper into your mission). If not, you should revisit: Have you really understood your Life Mission properly? Is this new responsibility really from God? Using the “start walking” strategy from above helps you discern and affirm this as well, before you release your current responsibilities. Talk this through with a trusted coach.
When you seek to love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind you will inevitably find yourself at the point when you are challenged to take a new step of faith. It’s how God works. Each time we do, we release something that matters less as we strive for something that matters more, something eternal. We grow closer to him in purpose. Remember, we have a God who gave everything for us.
The Mission Curve™ process is specifically designed to prepare you for all of the stages and cycles of your adventure. One of the foundational principles of the process is to not go to battle without wise counsel. Help me do what God has called me to do by letting me help you do what he is calling you to do.
Start the process. Go to www.bobblackcoaching.com to schedule a free consultation. It will change your life.