Today is the final day of January. The first month of this year will be complete with this last day. Looking back, can you say you were faithful with it?
Were you faithful with the time you were given in this month of life? 31 days, 744 hours, what do you have to show for them? Did you use your hours and your days well? Did you live with intention? Did you make progress? Are you better on the final day of January than you were on the first day?
Life has a way of wearing us down. We come to the end of each month hoping somehow the next one will be better, but the truth is, it never gets better until we start getting better. Did you use these days to get better my sister?
God isn’t finished with you yet. He has good plans for your future, but your ability to step fully into those good plans depends on your willingness to work here to get better. How can you arrive to good plans if you’re only growing a little worse with time? You have a responsibility in God’s good plans for your life … a responsibility to get better. Life wasn’t given to you to just use. Nor was it given to you to just tuck away and hide. It was given to you to do something with it, and make it more than it was when it was given to you.
You’ve likely heard Jesus’ teaching on the parable of the talents. A talent was a measure of money. Today I will read this parable from the Message Translation to help us understand in our language. Matthew 25: 14-30:
Jesus said “It’s like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’
I wonder how the Master feels about what you did with the offering of January? He gave you this month to do something with, now what do you have to show for it? What memories do you bring back? What lessons did you learn? What success did you experience? How did you grow and get better? What do you now know doesn’t work through valuable experience? Just how much living did you do with this month of life given to you my sister?
Remember, the master is not happy with this “play-it-safe”, “hide it away out of fear” kind of living. In fact, he is furious. He says “what a terrible way to live. It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!” God says “I’m after the best, so why did you do less than the least?”
Did this month get your best efforts of living? Remember, that’s the whole purpose of life is to actually live it. Did you go all in with the days given to you, or were you tucking them away, awaiting safer investments of your time and energy? Were you afraid you might do it wrong, so you did nothing at all?
Isn’t that the problem? We’re so fearful of screwing this up, that we stopped showing up. Hey, what if the greatest screw up was to never even show up? What if the biggest disappointment to the giver of this month of life is for you to be so afraid of doing the wrong thing that you never do anything?
God doesn’t want your life returned to him with a bow at the end of all this. What if he wants you to come skidding sideways through the pearly gates, almost late, because girlfriend you were LIVING! What if he would much rather have you burning out than rusting out? If you’re sitting there waiting for things to change, you’re rusting. If you’re waiting for better days to get started, oh sis, that rust is taking over. And let me tell you as the former owner of an old Ford truck, once that rust starts, it’s nearly impossible to get it to stop. That rust will corrupt every good thing in your life.
YOU WERE NOT GIVEN THIS LIFE TO SIT THERE AND LET IT RUST OUT! The Master expects you to be doing something with this!
What if in February you intentionally lived your days in a way that were giving the Master your BEST? What if you took a risk and really went for it, knowing you might fail, but failure would be less of a disappointment than not trying at all. The greatest disappointment would be to not even try.
Coming to the end of this month, I’ll be talking to a whole lot of women who wrote big goals on day 1 and they’re slightly disappointed in themselves for not finishing what they started. They didn’t make as much progress as they had hoped. They didn’t stick with it, they didn’t breakthrough. So the temptation is to hide and give up.
But, let me talk to the girl who said she wanted to lose 10 pounds this month and only lost 2. Let me talk to the girl who said she was going to break up with the snooze button, but was only successful half the mornings. Let me talk to the girl who said she was going to get that house clean, but only made it through half the kitchen cabinets. Let me talk to the girl who wanted to work on her marriage and got frustrated on day 5.
Is that you? Well listen up Sis, I have a message for you. AT LEAST YOU STARTED. At least you tried. You made a little progress, and that’s a whole lot better than nothing at all.
Don’t let the enemy steal from you the little wins you do have. No, it wasn’t perfect, but the great news is your Creator never expected you to be perfect anyway. He designed you to be human. Human with your tendencies to not always get it right, and human with your ability to try again.
Coming off a less than perfect start, here’s the temptation … you’re tempted to sit in defeat and not try again. You’re tempted to play it safe so you don’t lose more. But remember what Jesus taught us. He says the Master is furious with that way of living. He expects your best, even if your best doesn’t measure up to someone else’s best. He expects you to try again, even when you’ve screwed up in the past.
Notice when the master found a servant to have been faithful, he says “you will be my partner.” Oh girl, did you know God wants to partner with you? Yes, the King of Kings, Lord of All, Creator of the Universe, Owner of the Cattle on a Thousand Hills, wants to partner with YOU, if you will only be faithful.
Will you be faithful with the days you are given? Will you be faithful to show up and offer your best? Will you get over your need to do it perfect and just agree to show up and do it? Will you keep showing up even when you screw up and learn to get better? Because if you will, a partnership with the Almighty awaits you.
Do you understand what a partnership with God would look like? All he has is shared with you, because you’re trusted with it. You’re brought to the inner workings of his plans and you get to see how he’s using everything together for good. You begin to understand things that never made sense to you before. You even get to make decisions about things because you have a place at this table and you have been trusted in this partnership.
And this is where God always wanted to bring you. Through it all, he desired nothing more than a partnership with you. A partnership where he could give his ALL to you, and you could be trusted with it. Trusted to do your best with all that is given to you. Trusted to take the days of life offered and live them ridiculously well with something to show for it!
So here we are at the end of month one, bringing back to God what we have done with his investment of 31 days in us. It’s not perfect, but dang it we’re here to get better. And now he asks, “If I give you 28 days in a new month, will you be faithful with it my girl? Will you go for it? Will you get over your fear of screwing up and really show up?”
If you said yes, then God wants to partner with you!
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