How often we fall short of what we are capable of when God gives us a demand. We measure our ability to respond by our own education or experiences rather than measuring by the promises of God. As a result we wind up getting far less than what God wants us to have. Consider Jesus’ parable of the talents where He entrusted to three men with His property. The number of talents varied.
Matt 25:14-15 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
It seems that in my life I have many times responded to God’s demands by convincing myself that He is demanding more of me than He has given me the power to respond. As I think about it, at that moment I am just like the unfaithful servant. I allow my natural limitations to overcome the work of the Holy Spirit in me. How easily I forget one of my key life verses:
Matt 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
God never asks of us anything that we are able to accomplish in the power and strength of His Spirit… to each according to his ability. Our problem is that we immediately judge what He is asking based upon our natural abilities. That never works! We will never grow in our faith if we continue to fall short of God’s challenges. In my experience, the level of challenge God gives me is always more difficult than the previous one. As a result it takes a stronger faith to face the current one than the last one. That’s the foundational principle of the process of growing in Christ… spiritual maturity. We can rest assured that whatever God is asking of us as His bride, we are not going to be able to fulfill it in our own ability and power.
Yes, there’s risk involved, but only if we measure that risk in light of our capabilities and not God’s promises. We measure our capabilities by our own limitations. God measures them by His Holy Spirit. The first two men stepped up and took the risk to do what the Master required… they put their talent to work for the Master! The third man not only failed to do the same, he justified what he did by accusing the Master…
Matt 25:24-31 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
God has given each of us His talents, His gifts, and entrusted us to put them to work for Him in His kingdom. At the end of the day, as we stand before Him at His Judgement Seat, it won’t be about the sin in our life. He took care of that on the cross. His question will be simple and straight forward… What did you do with what I gave you?
At that moment I don’t want to be like the third man…
Matt 25:26-29 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
God has provided many rewards for us at His Judgement Seat, but it is in this life that we either use our gifts to earn them or we don’t. It’s not about works. It’s about using our gifts to advance the gospel and bless others. The challenges of Romans 8:28 are the tests and trials that provide us the opportunity prove that we are His faithful servants and will respond by The Promise He has given us… the Holy Spirit.
Our challenge is stand on His promises and remember that He will never ask of us more than we are able to accomplish in Him. I have to remind myself all the time to not respond like man number three… You Ask Too Much!