11/10/05

Encouragement for Today

 

“Something is Missing” – Part 2

Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Luke 10:36-37, “’Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?’ And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do the same.’” (NAS)

 

Devotion:

Children know how to multiply their talents and we all stand to learn from the younger generation. Give my next-door neighbors some lemonade mix, cups, ice, and water to the tune of a mere $6.00 to $10.00 and they travel up and down our street pulling a wagonload of cool refreshment. Anyone working in the yard receives ice cold lemonade. When the neighbor kids give away a cup they tape an envelope on the front door returning later for the envelope and, hopefully, a donation.  Talent Multipliers inhabit my town! Sometimes they give their earnings to a particular school program. Other times they contribute to a drive for a friend stricken with cancer. Recently they worked all weekend earning dollars so they might help those who found themselves homeless due to the disastrous hurricane that struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

 

I read Matthew 25, verses 14 through 30 again. This parable describes the way three individuals dealt with their talents.  Verse 21 stands out. I want to be that good and faithful servant, faithful with a few things so I can enter into the joy of my Master, Jesus Christ. My little neighbors pave the way as wonderful examples of good and faithful servants. I pray they never lose their desire to serve others.

 

Still I consider the deep void in my life.  I wonder, “What talents has He given me that I might be a faithful servant?  What exactly does He want me to do?”

 

I continue reading. The end of the chapter clearly develops. Verse 34 reads, “Come you who are blessed of my Father…”  The rest of the chapter describes exactly what God wants me to do with the talents He bestowed on me.

 

My sons disappear each day with the new school year in full swing. So, I turn to cleaning house, grocery shopping, having coffee with my girlfriends, exercising, and Bible Study. I stay busy.  But, I find that busyness, although necessary for family life to run smoothly, does not fill me with continued contentment.

I seek the joy of my Master. I understand that joy now:  showing mercy towards others using my talents and serving the weak with my God–given gifts. With God’s help I sought out places to invest my talents. I pray that I multiply them wisely. I hope to look into my Master’s face when He asks me what I did with the talents He gave me.  I want to see a smile of acceptance coming from Him. What will His voice sound like when He says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!”  (Matthew 25:21, NLT)

Twice a month I take my talents to the Pregnancy Care Center. There I make myself available to women facing difficult situations. Sometimes I offer spiritual food – God’s Word. Other times I talk about the woman at the well who, like them, found herself searching for her life’s purpose. These immigrant Hispanic women confront many obstacles – a strange land, foreign language, different culture. I invite them to understand our traditions and familiarize them with our Nation’s Christian roots. I often bring clothing that my friends save and donate.  I accompany them on doctor’s visits translating from English to Spanish.  All the while I pray, “God use me to help these women understand that they do not have to be captive to their past sins. They can be set free when they turn to Your Son for salvation.”

 

I consider my God-given talents.  Born in a foreign country where I grew up speaking Spanish, developing bilingual communication skills came naturally to me. These skills, a talent many people need, allow me to serve many women.  God placed me in a family where joy equaled putting Jesus first and others second.  He planted in me a desire to teach, making it possible that I attend college, graduating with a degree in education. These individual pieces combine, creating a divine design for my life.

 

I no longer focus on the void in my life. God called me to fill that emptiness by using my talents to reach out to others. It is an amazing mystery. When I empty myself, giving all I am, God fills me with joy, contentment and purpose.

 

I don’t fill my voids, God does!

 

My Prayer for Today:

Lord, I am so needy! I am constantly seeking contentment and often I search to fill my empty spaces in areas you have clearly advised me to avoid.  Forgive me for looking to my abilities to keep me confident and content.  I know only You are the filler of my soul.  Remind me whose I am and why I exist so I may serve You and others all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Application Steps: 

Read Romans 12:1-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-14, and Ephesians 4:1-13. Each

of these Scriptures lists the gifts Christians are given by the Holy Spirit. Ask God to reveal to you which of these is your gift. Ask Him to open doors for you to experience true joy: Jesus first, others second, you last.

 

Reflection Points:         

Have you ever determined the gifts and talents God has given you and how you might use them to glorify Him and build His church?

 

Prayerfully reflect on the way God has worked in your life to prepare you to serve others.

 

List 3-5 questions and/or thoughts that encourage deeper exploration of the devotional truth.        

 

Power Verses: 

Psalm 82:3, “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” (NAS)

 

Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (NIV)

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (NIV)

 

James 2:15-16, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, ‘Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well’ – but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” (NLT)

 

Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm

 

Who Holds the Keys to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whoHoldsKey.htm

 

A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_secretBalanced.htm