Is you is or is you ain’t….

Shannon’s challenge to me to remind people I’m not after success, but instead, am chasing after Father, left me pausing in thought all day long. After much pondering, I think I’ve come up with an official stance: I am.

I am? I am, WHAT? What kind of answer is that?

I AM…..chasing after Father. I want what He wants for us more than anything else. I can feel every fiber of my being stretching ooooouuuuuuuttttttt – trying to reach for the goal of being told I’ve done well as His servant.

I AM…..chasing after success. I want to make certain that what I offer my Father, from our business, is worthy of a gift to give a King. I want to offer my Lord nothing that cost me nothing.

Are these two things mutually exclusive? I don’t think so. And here’s why – In Matt 25, in the parable of the talents, the Master gives his servants talents, according to their abilities. The servant that took the 5 talents that were given to him and made 5 more heard the very words that woo me, “Well done, good and faithful servant. (and the piece de resistance??) Enter into the joy of your master.” OH, that phrase drives me – ENTER INTO THE JOY OF YOUR MASTER.

For what, does this servant earn such a commendation? He takes the talents his master has given him – talents that were given according to his abilities and he doubled them. Here’s what else captures my attention about this – he went at once. He didn’t sit around and think about it, he didn’t ask all his friends what to do, he didn’t go to the internet and check the stock market, he didn’t even buy a copy of the Wall Street Scroll – he already knew JUST what to do with those talents.

The other servant, however, is not successful. He takes the talents that are given to him – he only had the ability to handle one – and he returns to the master the one talent that was given unto him. The master’s response causes me to cringe – literally – “You wicked and slothful servant!…. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness.” Those words send chills up my spine.

I want to pause here and note, while I believe it possible that those who are successful with the talents that that Lord has appointed unto them, to gain wealth (Matt 25:29) THAT is not the measure that I choose to use to determine whether or not we have succeeded at the business the Lord is laying before us. If He should so choose to bless us financially, I will, with fear and trembling (for to whom much is given, much is required) offer it back to Him with open hands! We are not our own, we have been bought and it is for His good pleasure that we are in this place. (As opposed to something that we have “earned” or done based on our own “value.”)

I pray that you hear my heart concerning this, as I have wrestled long and hard with Father over this very question. I have spent days praying and meditating on “Seek first the Kingdom of God” and sought to understand what that meant in conjunction to our business. I have begged Father to allow us to grow in our understanding of what it means to do all things as unto Him. I have spent many, many an hour in my prayer closet, allowing the Holy Spirit to change the way I think. (At times to the point that my head literally ached from the things that I was learning.) I have cried at the mere thought of failing my Lord at this task. While I want this new thing SO much I can taste it, I want only and exactly what the Lord has for us….and not one crumb, not one ion more or less.

Yes, I DO want success – I want to stand back and watch my husband stand before “kings” (Prov 22:29) and I DO want a heart that is broken and contrite – easily molded by the Holy Spirit. These things are both markers of success, to me.

AND when the day comes that my Master returns from His journey, the indicator to measure our success will be whether or not we are found faithful. For entering into His joy will be all that will be of any value…on that great and glorious day.

(Shannon, honey, you keep asking me those hard questions!  It is people like you, who care about my soul, that will become the needed slap in the face, if I start to lose sight of the goal….the very purpose of where we’re going and what we’re after.  I love that you are willing to challenge me and sharpen me!  You are a gift to me! I love you!!)

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Comments
3 Responses to “Is you is or is you ain’t….”
  1. Obedience to our Father (to the very best of our God-given ability!) is success! What a great reminder, shug, that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. We aren’t seeking worldly success (wealth, the praise of man) for it’s own sake, but we are always to seek to succeed in what He calls us to. I have no doubt that y’all will do fabulously in this no undertaking because I know you’re seeking after Him.
    And can I just say I love you too. You do more to sharpen me and lift me up in my calling than anyone else I can think of right this minute. And, hey, no slapping! Unless it’s absolutley neccessary:> Let’s try nudging, a little elbowing, even a good shake first!

  2. Violet says:

    Sunday we were continuing our study in Sunday School from Ecclesiastes. Here are a couple notes I wrote down during the teaching:

    “7:13 – ‘Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?’ God knows what He is doing and we can’t undo it.
    “7:14 – ‘In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.’ It is God’s business and work. Wisdom doesn’t teach you what is coming next, but rather to trust God with that and accept the present and receive joy by trusting Him for the future.”

    Your post also made me think of Elisabeth Elliot who frequently said the two operative words for joy and success (in God’s eyes) are “trust” and “obey”. I’m so excited for you on this journey. Keep your eyes gazing on Him and you can’t go wrong.

  3. O.K. Here are my thoughts on the subject for what they’re worth. Pursuing success in business and pursuing after the Father are far from mutually exclusive. When I think of Biblical examples of people of faith that were successful in business, many come to mind–Abraham, Lot, Job, and Lydia for starters. 1Co. 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or WHATEVER YOU DO do it ALL for the glory of God.” I think running a business could safely be included in “whatever you do” and “all”. Col. 3:22-4:1 provide some biblical guidelines both for the employer and the employee (although the words “master” and “slave” are used, they are certainly pertinent to modern business environment).

    If I were to encourage you or to challenge you regarding your business venture, it would be the encouragement and challenge of Pr. 29:25 and Lk 12:4-5. Namely, fear God and serve Him to the best of your ability (which I know you and Jeff are), don’t waste a lot of energy trying to impress or convince others of your motives and don’t apologize for being successful. Just be faithful.

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