Building on the other devotionals this week, we certainly have to be willing to listen to God. When we hear from Him, we need to be ready to act. But we need to make sure we’ve waited to get the instructions we need, not just get a portion and then take off. That doesn’t do us any good. Today let’s look at giving maximum effort. We’ve all been blessed with different talents, skills, gifts, and abilities. We’ve all had different life experiences. God can and will use all of these in the completion of His will. The more we have, the more He will want us to use. So as we look at what we have in these areas, we have to realize that God expects us to put them all to use. Let’s look at the parable of the Talents, which shows this. First, the results of the first guy who was entrusted with some money by his boss.
“The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
– Matthew 25:20-21, NASB
The boss gave one guy five talents of silver. Think of it like $500. He was to increase that money and did so, doubling it to $1000. Because he was wise in how he handled the money, the boss said to him, “Good job!” Not only that, but the boss promised him more responsibility and authority. In other words, the guy got a promotion. This is the model God would have of us. He wants us to take what we’re given and make the most of it in accomplishing His will. If we don’t have as much as someone else, that’s not a concern to God. He isn’t comparing us to anyone else. He is looking at what we can accomplish based on what we have. Nothing more. We see that with the next servant.
“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
– Matthew 25:22-23, NASB
The second guy was only given two talents. He wasn’t given as much. But like the first, he doubled the investment. So, using that same conversion, he started with $200 and made it $400. He didn’t even get to what the first guy started with. But that’s not what God was measuring him on. God was looking what he did with the $200. He did his best. As a result, he was congratulated and promised more. It’s not about how much we have compared to other people. It’s about how much we use what we do have. That’s what God is looking for in us. Therefore, as we answer His call, it’s up to us to give maximum effort. That’s what He expects. Now the parable has one more guy, who basically takes the single talent he has been entrusted with and doesn’t do anything with it. In other words, he squanders the opportunity. He puts none of his own abilities or experiences to work. If you read the parable, you’ll see he even insults the boss over the whole thing. That’s obviously not what God is looking for in us.
I want to be praised by my Lord. I want to do well in His eyes. That’s my desire. And I know to get that praise, I’ve got to do all I can with what I have. I’m okay with that. See, it’s a pretty good deal I’ve got going (and you’ve got the same deal). I give up time and effort. He already gave His life. Any way I look at it, I have already come out ahead. So as I approach the remainder of this new year, I’m really going to watch my effort level. I don’t just want to say I’m doing my best, I’m going to observe myself and make sure I really am doing it.