I recently watched a movie, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (MMWE). 

It is a fantastical story about 26-year old Molly Mahoney, the manager of a magnificent toy store.  The 243-year old eccentric proprietor, Mr. Magorium, announces that he will bequest the store to Molly after he dies.  Molly is reluctant to accept the impending gift because she doesn’t believe in herself and in her ability to run the store.

Have you ever been in a similar situation where you had an opportunity for a change or something new (a job, a different residence, a proposition, a prospective mate) and your response was one of incapability, unworthiness, or disbelief the opportunity would ever work out?

There was a person in the Bible who shared these feelings, Gideon. 

“The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites.  I am sending you!  ‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel?  My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’”
 
— Judg. 6:14-15

On different occasions, I have questioned myself and have not believed in my abilities or experience when presented with a challenge.  During these moments it was difficult to logically understand how something would succeed.  Consequently, I turned away from taking the steps required to achieve it.  Personally, I responded much like Gideon, “But Lord, how …?”  The Lord’s retort to me (and to you) is the same that he gave to Gideon over 3000 years ago.

 “I will be with you….” 

— Judg. 6:16

We fall short of reaching God’s potential for ourselves when we do not take advantage of the opportunities that God puts in front of us, when we do not believe in ourselves and the gifts He has given us, and when we fail to see how we fit into God’s plan.

 ”People need the opportunity to do something more than they were given” 
       
— Mr. Magorium, MMWE

Opportunities

There’s a cable television series called The Big Idea hosted by Donny Deutsch.  The show highlights accomplishments of successful business people who have “made it big” in business with one idea.  Often the “ideas” revealed are those that we have all had, wondered about or shared with friends, but we never took the steps necessary to accomplish it. 

The angel of the Lord appeared to him (Gideon), and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you.”
 
— Judg. 6:12

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress hiding from the Midianites!  Gideon must have looked around in disbelief wondering if the angel was speaking to someone else.  A mighty hero? Maybe in his dreams.  Nevertheless, Gideon was inspired enough at that moment to climb out of the winepress, confront the opportunity and accept the challenge.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the story of the parable of the talents.  Each servant is given a number of talents to hold while the master is away.  Two of them use their talents to gain more while one buries his talent.

 I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. 

— Matt. 25:25

To this the master took the original talent from the servant and had him thrown “into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30).  All of us have been given some special talent and purpose.  “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28), we are to use our gift for a greater purpose serving others.