Superheroes are in the news these days, at the box office and in the church. A superhero has a unique and remarkable special ability that can help a lot of people. If he or she does not complete the mission, thousands or millions of people could be affected.
God calls some people into superhero-kinds of missions. Think Billy Graham. Moses. Esther. Paul. Mother Teresa. Martin Luther King, Jr. Think of all the lives those people impacted. Wow! It’s a mistake, however, to think that God calls everyone to a superhero mission. Only a handful of people in the Bible were given that kind of calling. But it is a bigger mistake to think that you have no mission. You have an unmistakable mission from God, and it is not that hard to figure out. Seriously.
My confidence comes from a story Jesus told about the God who gives everyone a mission. (Matthew 25:14-30) Here is how the story begins:
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. (vss. 14-15, NIV)
He gives them his wealth to invest it for a return. One guy gets five bags, puts it to work, and gets five more bags. Another servant gets two and generates two bags in return. A third servant, paralyzed with fear, buries his bag so as not to lose it. The wealthy man ultimately returns to see how his wealth was used for good by his servants. Those servants who produced a return of two or five bags were commended: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (vs. 21)
The servant who brought in his dirt-stained bag did not get a “well done.” “…You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. (vs. 28)
We are the servants, and God has entrusted to each of us a bag of gold. So, what is in the bag? It is His wealth. I suggest that it is every gift and blessing you and I have received from God. It is your very life, your time, your money, your stuff, your abilities, your forgiveness, your health, education, eyesight, etc. (I encourage you to make a list!)
Everyone has a bag. The gold in the bag belongs to God. And your mission is to honor God and bless others with everything in your bag. You have been forgiven; then forgive others (Colossians 3:13) You have received comfort from God; comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)) You have received money; be generous (2 Corinthians 9:11) You have abilities and spiritual gifts; use them. (Romans 12:6-9) If you can teach, then teach. If you can encourage, then encourage. If you can lead, then lead. The story of how I’m changing your life; share it with others. The insights I’ve given you; tell others.
God’s everyday blessings carry a responsibility. Use them to honor him and bless others. Not everyone has a superhero calling from God, but everyone has a bag of gold that is hand-selected by God for us, so that we can bless others. Everyone has an influential mission centered in his/her bag of gold. Most of us are simply called to everyday stewardship of our bag of gold. God says, “Look at what I have put in your bag of gold and use it to bless others.
Warning: superhero thinking can get in the way of our mission. We tend, even unconsciously, to look or wait for a superhero calling. What am I SUPPOSED to do? What is my call? “The Call” is something very specific and “sizable” like writing a book or teaching in a foreign country or starting a non-profit or creating an album or speaking to hundreds or launching a business. Of course, God still leads people to do such things, but if you think that God gives everyone a superhero call, here is what you’ll do. Waiting for “the call,” you’ll bury your bag of gold.
That’s me. I’ve been unconsciously paralyzed by superhero calling thinking. I was locked up with questions: Am I supposed to write a book? Post blogs? Create magazine articles? Podcasting? Something else? Translation: What is the call? What is the special mission? Who knows? Calling can be tough to figure, but stewardship isn’t. Check the bag of gold. I’ve got time, I have a laptop, I’ve got a mind, and I’ve got the ability to communicate. So, I have a responsibility. Just write something that might bless someone. Just use today what you’ve got. I cannot tell you how freeing this has been for me.
Here is another freeing part of stewardship. God is unconcerned with the size of your return. He is only concerned that you invest. He praised the five-bag return and the two-bag return. He told the bag-burier that he would have been pleased with a fractional interest return. His only concern is inaction. The size of the return is up to him. We often think real impact is touching hundreds or thousands, that real impact is Billy Graham or Martin Luther King, Jr. The people making a difference are “five bags of gold” people.
Perhaps it is significant that the “one bag of gold” person buries his gift. “One bag of gold” people may be the most likely to say things like: “I don’t have much to offer. I can’t make a difference. I’m too flawed. I’m no MLK Jr.” Don’t buy that lie. My brother, Bruce, recently said it perfectly: “In God’s economy, helping, serving, blessing, and encouraging ONE person may be far more important and impactful than inspiring and instructing thousands, or even millions. Never doubt the incredible impact that you have in changing the world for good.”
So, we should use our bag of gold. No, we must. We have no other option. It is not our wealth. It is His. And he says go and bless. Today.
[Feature clip art from Pixabay]