Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "As With Gladness Men Of Old"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 25:23 – 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!" (NIV)
Recently, I visited my daughter's family in rural northern Alberta, Canada. As is customary during these visits, I took my grandchildren to the playground at the school nearby. Hardly do these happy children realize how special it is in this isolated location to have a park with swings, slides, and a soccer field within walking distance from their home.
After a few lazy swings and slides, the oldest of the three spotted a soccer ball in one of the nets. He ran to kick it across the field and mobilized his young sisters to man the nets. It did not take long for the goalkeepers to leave their nets, and they all started scoring randomly. They tripped over each other and themselves as they shared in the gift of the ball that the boy had spotted. When it was time to go home, the boy put the ball back in exactly the spot where he had found it — for the next player.
As I watched them from my bench, I started to feel shivers of gratitude and tears of blessing. How special it was to watch these enthusiastic and energetic children! Unaware of their privileges and gifts, they readily shared them with each other. At the end of the playtime, the boy had unselfishly returned the ball for the enjoyment of whoever would be the next person to kick it out of the net at the start of a new game.
My reflection on the joy of the children as they used and shared their gifts quickly turned into self-examination. How many things do I take for granted? My family? My church community? The country I live in with its dependable infrastructure, high quality of life, and protection of the law? How about my ability to knit, or my willingness to help others? Do I sometimes even take my walk with the Lord for granted? Well then, if I already enjoy and share all these privileges unawares, how much more readily and joyfully will I employ them when I start recognizing them as tokens of the Lord's care over me!
And what climax of grace awaits us who have received Christ as our Saviour, when our time at the park comes to its end and we are called to go home. Overlooking our faults and forgetfulness, our Father will welcome us with open arms. He will even honour us for the feeble attempts that we made at using and sharing our gifts. "Well done, good child. You made sure the soccer ball was placed back in the net for the next person. Come on in. You can live in my presence forever."
Prayer: Faithful Lord and Father, we thank You for rewarding our feeble attempts at using our gifts with eternal happiness in Your presence. In Your grace, open our eyes to recognize our gifts, and help us to share them with others. Praise be to You. Amen.