It’s Better To Be Faithful Than Gifted

 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. Proverbs 13:4

We may “crave” to grow spiritually, but it won’t happen without diligent effort.  Of course we don’t work to earn our salvation or God’s approval or favor – that’s all of grace.  But we must be faithful to pursue God as well.  It is the diligent person – the one who keeps on plodding day after day, faithfully reading her Bible, praying, fellowshipping, listening to messages – who will have her soul richly supplied.

In the Parable of the talents the master expected his servants to be faithful with small amounts he gave each of them.  He said to each of the servants who had been diligent, ‘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.’

There aren’t many superstars in the kingdom of God. Not many have super gifts. Most of us are just average.  Gifted in small ways. But if we are faithful to use the gifts we have and serve in whatever ways we can, God will increase us.

Even in the world diligence and faithfulness matter more than talent. Many of the most successful people have hundreds of failures in their fields.  But they keep trying and trying.

Here are a few quotes from The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE by Thomas J. Peters

(1) To succeed, you have to try more stuff than the other guy—fast. (2) If you try more stuff in a hurry, you’ll make lots of mistakes. (It’s an Iron Law of Nature.) (3) Hence, screwing up a lot is a very good sign of progress—perhaps the only sure sign. (4) If we aim to (more or less) maximize screw-ups, then we must do more than “tolerate” screw-ups. (5) We must “encourage” screw-ups. (6) We must cel-e-brate screw-ups!

As Les Wexner, founder of Limited Brands, once told me: “In fashion, your batting average is never anywhere near 1000. Your strikeouts will always, over time, surpass your hits—especially your home runs. So a buyer with no mistakes is taking no chances—the kiss of death in this business; and cause for a poor evaluation. The buyer who will hit home runs, like power hitters in baseball, will also have a bushel of swinging strikeouts. I will in fact reward those swinging strikeouts—as the price of the home runs that are required for our growth.”

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” —Michael Jordan

If diligence and faithfulness are so important in the world, then let us disciples of Jesus be diligent to pursue him, use our gifts, and serve others.

It is better to read your Bible 15 minutes a day than once a week for two hours. Small acts of faithfulness add up over time.  If you give $1 a day  to the poor, that’s $365 a year.  In 10 years almost $4000.  Most of us could not pray for two hours straight, but 15 minutes a day is almost 2 hours in a week.  Read one page a day of a spiritual book or a biography – 365 pages in a year.  That’s a pretty big book.  One short encouraging email a day would be…well, you get the idea.

What is one small thing you could begin to practice today?

Comments

  1. Elaine says

    Being intentional in encouraging my children and my husband. The busyness of the day can be such a distraction but I'm trusting the Lord to give me eyes to see something extraordinary ordinary about them today.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. says

    What would you say to say to, ahem, some guy I know that has a hard time separating these two: "Of course we don’t work to earn our salvation or God’s approval or favor – that’s all of grace. But we must be faithful to pursue God as well."

  3. Mark Altrogge says

    Hey wvpv, here's one scripture that speaks to it:

    3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
    4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
    5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
    6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
    7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
    8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pe 1:3-8.

    God is the initiator – he first grants us all we need – his great salvation and power and divine promises. Then verse five says "For this very reason" – because God has graciously poured out all we need and given us his promises of strength and faithfulness – we are to "make every effort" to supplement our faith. In other words, be diligent. Salvation produces diligence; Grace produces diligence. Not vice versa.

    Hope this helps a little bit. Thanks for asking the question – probably many people can identify with it.

  4. Mama of 6 says

    My 20yo daughter is struggling with thinking she needs to do BIG things. I have been encouraging her to just be faithful in the small things and maybe someday big tings will come – or not! :) I sent her this article. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Hey Mama, you have probably told her this, but to Jesus even little things are big things, for example giving a disciple a glass of water in the name of Jesus…hope she's encouraged.

  5. toomanythorns says

    awesome thought! thanks!

    I just want to follow God. If those "great big things" happen along the way, that's cool, but its not what is important!.

    Hope that makes sense

  6. Larry Barrett says

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the reminder to be faithful in the small things and the encourgement that God gives us what we need in our pursuit of Him. His great salvation and power and divine promises. Our dependent responseability. Thank you sharing with the large body of Christ.

    Larry Barrett

  7. Mrs. Hunt says

    Thank you for this today. I'm a part of a church plant that is full of talented people doing big things for Jesus. I feel lame and ungifted. This is just what I needed to be reminded of my identity in Christ and how I am called to relationship with him (and others) first and foremost. That he wants ME and it's okay if I'm not called to do "big" things. :)

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Thanks for your excellent comments, Mrs. Hunt. I know this – in Christ you are not lame and ungifted. You are exceedingly valuable and have so much to offer others. I believe that in heaven we are going to be surprised at what we thought were little things here will be big in heaven, and many things that appear big here will be small there. So keep enjoying Jesus and he'll make sure you bear much fruit for him.

Trackbacks

  1. […] It’s Better to Be Faithful than Gifted, HT to Challies. “There aren’t many superstars in the kingdom of God. Not many have super gifts. Most of us are just average. Gifted in small ways. But if we are faithful to use the gifts we have and serve in whatever ways we can, God will increase us.” […]

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