This revelation that the Kingdom is IN me is coloring so much of what I read in the Bible in a new light! I’ve always been puzzled about the parable of the ten bridesmaids…five wise ones prepare extra oil for the bridegroom’s arrival, and five foolish ones do not. When the groom returns, the foolish ones have to go to the store to buy more oil, while the five wise ones welcome the groom with a well lit wedding feast.
I think perhaps the oil in this parable is referring to a faith that is always on the lookout for Jesus’ return. Light casts hope on the gloomiest of circumstances, and the light of our faith will keep our hearts ready for the day when Jesus returns. We won’t have to lean on anyone else’s faith if we have stored up our own.
Finally, Jesus tells another parable about a man who goes on a journey and leaves money behind to his servants according to each of their abilities. The one who was given five bags invests that money and gets five more in return; the same is true of the one who was given two bags. Yet the person who was given only one bag buried it out of a heart full of bitterness…and had even that taken away when the master returned.
When we became Christ-followers, the Holy Spirit gave us spiritual gifts. These are not the kind of gifts, however, that are to be buried in the sand as the bitter man did in the parable. Jesus wants us to USE them. What are you doing with your talents lately? Have you buried them in the sand, afraid to step out in faith? If you are an encourager, do you encourage those around you? If the Lord has given you wisdom, do you share it when you are prompted? If you have been given the spiritual gift of hospitality, do you use that gift to welcome others to your home in Jesus’ name?
One of the gifts the Lord has given me is teaching. Another is administration, and perhaps He’s thrown in a bag of encouragement as well. I don’t know whether I am actually getting a return on His investment in me, at least in terms of what the world would consider a return…but in heavenly currency, I pray I am banking up love in return for the teaching I do in our homeschool, the administration I do as director of a Classical Conversations Community, and the encouraging I do for others through my everyday life and through my writing.
I will keep this “return on the Lord’s investment in me” thought on the back burner of my mind the next time I feel overwhelmed and discouraged. And I offer all Praise and Glory to the Lord for giving us the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to remind me of these things that Jesus taught. Amen!