By Melissa McLaughlin
A Gift of Faithfulness
As part of my Mother’s Day gift this spring, my husband and children helped me plant a small deck garden using tubs, buckets and flower pots. Like any faithful gardener, they helped me place and cover the seeds in rich soil, then provided proper moisture and sunlight for new growth.
Here we are just a few months later and those tiny seeds are growing and beginning to reap a great harvest! Keep in mind, however, daily we check on the tender shoots. Watering, moving to sunnier areas, re-potting into deeper soils, propping up the taller plants with heavy stakes, building fences around the plants that keep getting eaten by tiny predators like squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits.
Each day we see how the plants are growing and attend to the needs they are manifesting via withering leaves or bending stalks. If we wait a day or two to “get around to it”, it could be too late. The young and vulnerable plant may literally die in that short time.
We rejoiced with all our hearts the day we enjoyed a fresh spinach salad and a tomato sandwich!
But these sweet garden delights did not come without work. Steady, daily, attentive work.
To me, one who gardens must demonstrate faithfulness. Daily checking. Daily responding to the needs that are presenting that day. Daily attending. Daily faithfulness is what yields a harvest. Faithfulness.
A Faithful Servant
In the parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25, those who invested and put their God-given talents to good use, heard these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The beauty of this parable is that God gives the talents. We don’t have to earn them. And God holds each one responsible, only for the amount he or she was given.
Though we often associate the word “talents” in this passage to mean human talents or money, it actually encompasses much more. For we know that Jesus’ parables utilized everyday experiences to teach deep, spiritual, Biblical truths.
Everything we have comes from God and belongs to God. It has been given to us on loan, for the time we live and walk on this earth. Every single resource and opportunity is a gift from God in order to glorify Him, to enjoy His Presence and to expand His kingdom work.
Our time, our measure of health, our education, our jobs, our gifts and talents, our home, our cars, our wealth, our family, our friends, our church, our energy. As Christians we also have the Word of God, our salvation in Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. These and more have been entrusted to us. We are asked to use each one to multiply and increase its value for the kingdom of God.
Though in one sense, this sounds like a grave and awesome responsibility, at the same time, I take heart in this parable. God recognizes what each one is given and the expectations are in keeping with that amount.
Furthermore, God was not commending the servants for being spectacular, extraordinary or amazing. But simply… faithful.
God did NOT say…
Well done, good and creative servant.
Well done, good and famous servant.
Well done, good and effective servant.
Well done, good and gifted, talented servant.
Well done, good and successful, strong servant.
Well done, good and popular, powerful, wise or wonderful servant.
God DID say…
Well done, good and FAITHFUL servant.
Somehow these simple words bring me comfort and peace. God recognizes that I am merely an earthen vessel, the dust of the earth. Yet redeemed by the blood of Jesus and filled with His indwelling Presence. God has blessed me with many resources. More than I can count.
Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant
May our daily prayer be to surrender all that we are, all that we have, to the One who gave us life and life eternal. That He is welcome use our resources, great and small, as we offer to Him a faithful heart of devotion. Then He can add the increase for His kingdom and glory.
God does the miracle work. God sends the Son-light and the rain of His Spirit. God makes the seeds grow. God brings the harvest.
Our job is to remain faithful.
As the world grows darker by the minute, may we remain steadfast and immovable. For we carry within us the Treasure of heaven. May we be found faithful when our King returns.
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I encourage you this day. Remain faithful in prayer. Remain faithful in Bible reading. Remain faithful to sing His praises. Remain faithful to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Remain faithful to abide in Christ and be filled with His Spirit. Then we will be filled with the fullness of God, that we can remain faithful to love those around us. God has been faithful to us. Out of unending gratitude and love, let us be faithful to Him.
Keep on going, dear friends. Don’t give up. Keep on keeping yourself in Christ. God will do the rest.
God is looking for those who are faithful.
Let us be found faithful, so on that Day we will hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Luke 18:8b – However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
2 Chronicles 16:9a – For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
Matthew 25:20-23 – And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
1 Corinthians 3:6 – I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
Enjoy a few pictures of our deck garden!
Photo ©Melissa McLaughlin