Put Forth Excellence!
Put forth excellence!
"Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy." -Psalm 33:3
Sometimes we, as Christians, abuse our humility. I am guilty of using "humility" as an excuse to be lazy. Sometimes we can (knowingly or unknowingly) get out of working hard for God by saying that it would be prideful for us to "show off" the talents we have. Sometimes we even put ourselves down in the name of humility. We make less of ourselves and make our talents seem like less than what they are, saying that "God is glorified in our weakness." God is glorified in our weakness, but he is also glorified in our talents. It isn't humble to be pessimistic about yourself. C. S. Lewis once said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." God gave us special gifts and talents for a reason and he expects us to use them. When we truly have our hearts set on glorifying God, we will show off what he has blessed us with and glorify him with the best we have to offer.
Consider this parable from Jesus:
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
“The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
“The master was full of praise. ‘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!’
“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
“The master said, ‘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!’
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The men were each given gifts by the master (who represents God) and judged by how well they used their gifts. We are gifted by the God of the Universe! While we must work hard to do our best for God, we have confidence in knowing that our talents are a gift from him! Vincent Cheung says in his article "Competence in Ministry," that "competence is an endowment from God. Paul demonstrates true competence in ministry, but the source of this competence is not in himself. ... God endorses a person and his work by the stamp of the Holy Spirit." Brothers and sisters, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and do not be afraid to use your talents to glorify God! Our God is a king. He's worthy to appease. If he's who we're living for, then why isn't what we're doing better than anything else out there? Take hold of your talents and use them with excellence and genuine humility.