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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Day 9—They're watching your best
The world says to do only what you need to do to get by. In other words, do as little as possible. Extra effort is wasted effort. This attitude can touch your family in the work place, in the educational setting with a common attitude among students, and in the public arena when you are a customer at a business where this is the dominant attitude of the employees.
What does the Bible say? This is a long passage but it is all part of the same "story."
Matthew 5:14-30—"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents (a talent is worth more than a thousand dollars in today's terms) of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master's money.
"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settle accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
His master replied, '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!'
"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see I have gained two more.'
"His master replied, '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!'
"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
"Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
Note a couple of key parts to this passage:
(1) The master distributed the talents to "each according to his ability." From the beginning the master understood the abilities (or lack of talent) in each of his servants and divided up the responsibility based on that.
(2) To each of the servants that did his best and doubled their talents, the master praised '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!'
One servant handed his master 6 talents—or $60,000—more than the other servant. Even so, the master did not at that time distinguish either servant as being more appreciated than the other. What counted is that each servant acted according to his ability. In other words, the master did not expect the exact same physical result from each only the same effort.
Your turn: So, what can you do with this to help your children get a better Biblical perspective of our world? I would suggest that you read this passage with them, making predictions along the way. Then compare celebrities (national or local), politicians, or maybe even acquaintances to each of the three servants. What are the results? Then ask your children to decide which of the servants best describe them. We each know which hired hand they want to be, but the question is which one are they are more like at this time. If it is servant one or two, great!! What can they do to keep that do-my-best attitude? If it is the third choice, realize it is not all bad. The third man returned the money and didn't steal it. On the other hand, have your children brainstorm how they become like either of the first two.
If your family members are not touched by this passage enough to start making changes in their attitude and behavior (if changes are warranted), then either (1) start a conversation as to how they would like to be served by others or (2) discuss people they appreciate that have similar attitudes as the first two employees. Good luck with this conversation, but no matter what you say, your children will be most affected by watching you give your best at what you do.
If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links. If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.