(Fool and his barns): That was last week and mostly about our internal disposition toward God or not toward God. God’s intention is to conform us to the image of Christ and he cannot do that if all of our time, energy and effort is focused on the things of this world. Focus first on God, as Mary might say. Martha, on the other hand, will add her two cents, that you also must do something while you are here. The passage this week is about Martha doing. Last week, Mary-be. This week, Martha-do.
On the heels of the fool with the barns, Jesus asks a simple question. Where is your treasure? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, he says. Naturally, I ask what does he mean by treasure? I can only conclude he means what do you value? What is important to you, perhaps priceless? What interests you, what concerns you, what turns you on? Well, we know we are all supposed to value the things of God, but I think there is something more to it here.
He says, be prepared. Be about God’s business. Don’t slack off, thinking God is taking too long (a reasonable warning). To the one who is given much, much will be expected.
That last bit in particular got me to thinking. Every human being has been given something or many things that make him and her unique (special is not a bad word). Such things have been variously called strengths, talents, gifts, calling, abilities; and everyone has something. Gallup (Strengthfinder 2.0) is not going to come back and say, forget it. You got nothing!
Everyone has something and, truth be told, it is the place where we are most comfortable, most content, most excited and most fulfilled. In other words, it is what we value for our lives, our true treasure. If we could only live in that something all the time! Sadly, the world has a way of stifling us. Few people are living their gifts. But when we have an opportunity, we LOVE living in our strengths. Time passes and we hardly notice.
The world, especially in the last 30 years or so will ask, what are your weaknesses? Weakness is the focus of this world. People at home, on the job, or just out and about are crushed under the impact of a thousand million images and bits of information that makes others appear so strong and us feel so weak. It is no wonder this world is full of so many counselors for all the self-esteem and low self-confidence problems. And we only do it to ourselves.
When we live in our strengths, our uniqueness, none of this weakness thinking bothers us nearly as much. We enjoy what we are doing. We relish the opportunity to do what we enjoy and we wistfully fantasize about staying in that place, that activity, that moment, forever.
Are you with me so far? Well, here is the kicker: the God who made you wants you to live in that place, too. He wants you to pursue your talents and strengths, the things that make you special and not exactly like any other human being on the face of the planet. AND that is what he wants you to do. That is what he made you for. That is why he gave you gifts. (duh!?)
The very things that you most enjoy, the talents you got a glimpse of when your church did that talents inventory thing, that is what he wants for you. To be happy doing what you love. I say what he said. Do it in his name and for his sake. This is what we all need to be doing when he comes: using the gifts, talents, strengths, abilities, understanding, etc. that he has given us to advance the Kingdom.
And then there is this: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” You see, we have all been given something, and the questions here is simply what are we doing with what we have been given? And God has given us so much, everything really on the cross.