You know the parable of the talents?
If you are not a religious sort, or just don’t remember this one, here is my paraphrased version: A guy gives his servants each a sum of money to invest. He gives one man five talents, another two talents, and another one talent. The first two doubled their investments, then the last one went and basically hid the money under a mattress. When the man comes back and asks about his investments, the one who didn’t bother investing accuses the man of being a swindler and a jerk, so he takes his money back and gives it to the first guy. Then there is some weeping and gnashing of teeth, as it seems there often is in biblical times. (Unrelated, weeping and gnashing of teeth always go hand in hand–can you gnash and not weep??? These are the things I wonder.)
Always the literalist, as an adolescent I figured the parable was saying you should never accuse God of being a swindler and a jerk, and wisely use the gifts you’ve been given for something church-related. Probably the choir or cook for a potluck because I am a girl. Maybe take care of children or do crafts with that tacky glue that churches always have.
After listening to a series on this parable by Beth Moore, it has become a great encouragement and challenge to me.
In the four-part series, there were several great takeaways, but Beth pointed out a small word that hit me straight in the heart. The man entrusted them with his property according to their abilities. They didn’t receive the same number of talents to invest. He knew how many he could trust each individual with, and gave them more when he saw a good return on investment.
It gives me confidence and comfort to know that for some reason, God has decided that I can handle whatever is thrown at me. Whenever I feel overwhelmed at the idea of being responsible for teaching my daughter how to function in this world, or physically I’m exhausted or not having a very mobile day, I remember that God figured I can handle this, and who am I to argue. Don’t get me wrong, I still often do.
You know in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Voldemort’s goal is to kill Harry in Godric’s Hollow but he just shares his epic tale of rebirth in a lengthy monologue instead? I always roll my eyes and think, “If you would just stop this nonsense, you could have achieved your objective like, 14 times at this point, Dark Lord.”
I feel like God must think I’m Voldemort ALL THE TIME. While I’m not necessarily giving a detailed rundown of my impressive comeback (unless we are discussing fantasy football), or hiding my investment money instead of investing, I like to discuss my really good intentions to do something without actually doing it.
In working with my doctor and a wonderful friend who is an OT, I’ve learned about the importance of building back the muscles I’ve lost over nine months of being couch-bound. At first I was instructed to focus on getting the inflammation under control enough to not do further damage to my joints. We seem to have found a drug combo that is working for me, and I’m getting more mobile every day–yay! I’ve even started to cut back on my steroids. These are all big wins!
But with every step forward, sometimes it’s overwhelming to think big picture on how far I have to go to get where I want to be.
Right now my physical abilities are still very limited. I concentrate on the muscles I use to stand up, and press my feet into the floor. One day, I will be able to do that and my body will follow, standing up unassisted. But until then, I do these exercises so I can work toward something bigger. Intentions won’t cut it–I have to actually do the work and make the investment if I want to be able to walk normally again.
Often my daily actions might feel tiny and insignificant, but I think it’s through these tiny everyday actions we really grow into who we are meant to be. The parable of the talents reminds me that I have a unique set of abilities and challenges me to invest them without getting overwhelmed in fear or distracted by the seemingly mundane.
Otherwise I just don’t see how I will ever kill Harry Potter.