God has placed us where we are for a purpose; whether we can see it or not, God has his glory in mind for our good. This means the place God puts us is not really about us—it’s about him and his kingdom. If we only look for what we desire, we will always exist in a waiting period—waiting for God to take us somewhere else or give us something we want. But, if we see the place God has put us as somewhere we can act for his glory, then we will grow where we are and we will cherish the place we are in because it became fruitful in ways we never imagined.
The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 is a wonderful example. To summarize the parable, a master is going on a journey and he has entrusted his servants with some of his talents, each according to their ability. The master did not give the servants an equal share; he gave them what they could handle and expected them to do great things with it regardless of how much they were given.
The servant who received five talents doubled what he was given and was able to give the master 10 talents when he returned; the servant who received 2 talents also doubled what he was given and was able to give the master 4 talents when he returned. The master gave the same response to both of these men, in Matthew 25:21: "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.'" It didn’t matter that they were given different amounts in the beginning; they both used what the master gave them and expanded upon it for his glory.
The third servant received one talent, and instead of investing it, he buried it. When the master returned, this servant gave the talent (unused) back to the master. The servant missed the bigger picture, and he missed the vast grace of the master because he was too caught up in himself and what he wasn't given. Because the servant did not use even the little he was given, he was not counted as faithful.
This parable urges us to do three things in the place God has put us:
1. Recognize that God has given you exactly what you can handle for his glory in the place he has put you.
What does that mean? It means instead of focusing on what you don’t have, see the place you are in as a gift to be used for God’s glory. Erwin Lutzer reminds us, “The work that God does in us when we wait is usually more important than the thing for which we wait!” There is so much we can learn from God when we embrace the place he has us in, rather than wasting our time looking for a way out. If you don’t understand the place God has put you, pray for understanding, ask for guidance, and read his Word for clarity. Remember that wherever you are God has a purpose for this place, and he has equipped you to bring him glory there.
2. Use what God has given you to the best of your ability for his glory.
God will give you the strength you need to accomplish the tasks he has placed before you. Matthew 5:15 declares, “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” The gospel is to be shared with all people, in all places, at all times. Wherever you are, you are a steward of God’s gospel in your community. Don’t waste the place you are in because it doesn’t fit your ideal description of where you want to be. No matter what, continue to use what you have been given for the glory of the Giver.
3. Do not compare what God has given you with what he has given someone else.
If you have been given what seems like a little, do great things with that little! It’s not about how much we have, but rather what we do with the things God has given us. Lutzer also points out, “If there is one single reason why good people turn evil, it is because they fail to recognize God’s ownership over their kingdom, their vocation, their resources, their abilities, and above all their lives.” Everything we have been given is God’s first, and any little bit he gives us is a gift to be used and shared in humility and joy.
When we do not use what God has given us, we are surely coveting something else or some place else. We often focus on the earthly blessings that we desire and have yet to receive, rather than the eternal blessings we have been promised, which are infinitely better than anything we could ask for or seek on this earth.
Are you producing fruit where God has placed you? If not, ask yourself why you are not using the gifts God has given you. For when the Master returns, he will look not at how much you did but your faithfulness with what you were given.
Written by Liz Kanoy, editor for Crosswalk.com. Sponsored by Moody Bible Institute Distance Learning. Learn how others are serving God in their communities. Find out more about Moody’s online classes.
Publication date: December 8, 2015