Among my soapboxes…

Many who’ve been around me when I’ve heard just the right trigger know that I have a few favorite “soapboxes” at the ready to pull out and climb right up on to share my self-acclaimed wisdom for all to hear. (Hmmm, wait, isn’t that kind of what I do every time I write on this blog? But I digress…) One example many have heard is my speech about the term, “Lessons Learned.” In a nutshell, I’d like to see the term changed to “Lessons Observed” since most of the time we just record what went wrong and “learning” isn’t real until behavior changes…  Glad I didn’t pull out the soapbox all the way?

There’s a pseudo-spiritual phrase that many utter in tricky times that’s another hot button for me: “God never gives you more than you can handle!” It sounds wise, it sounds spiritual, it even sounds Biblical.  Think about Job, didn’t God only allow what he could handle?  Maybe Esther–she looked inside and found the strength…

The problem is, this isn’t Biblical.  It’s really the opposite of what the Bible shows us. Let’s start with one of the basic implications of this–that God would love for us to be self-sufficient. I offer Jesus’ words as a counter argument: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV) God wants us to be intimately connected to Him and dependent on Him–not so we will be weak, but so we will choose His offer of strength over our own. This is a daily and moment by moment choice for me, a question of whether in fact all He’s given me in my life is what I can handle on my own or if instead I’ll trust God and give in to His will over my own.

And another big lesson from Jesus comes into play here as well, this one from the parable of the ten talents (found in Matthew 25:14-30). This parable gives us the very clear insight that God wants us to take good care of even the small gifts and help He gives us–if we do, He’s very interested in trusting us with more, and more.  Sorry to say, that goes for the challenges we face as well. The challenges we face in life generally seem to grow as we mature in general, but in particular as our faith grows. And this testing is very clearly about our growth in faith James 1:2-4 tells us.

So, how much will God give us?  I believe based on all of this and more of what I’ve seen of God that He really isn’t interested in giving us what we can handle–He will give us enough to encourage us to turn toward Him. In fact, the more we try to handle things ourselves, apart from Him, He’ll give us more and more to lead us closer to where there’s nowhere to turn but Him. And if He’s only giving us what we can handle, we should probably be a bit concerned that He’s not interested in our growth or even that He’s done with us.

For me, it’s still a case of trying to be faithful with my 10 talents and seeing what more He is willing to trust me with. I know I’m not too great with it all, but I’m pretty sure that trying to handle it all myself isn’t going to work…

(Putting soapbox away now.)

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About puyman314

I am one of the volunteer worship leaders at Hopewell United Methodist Church in Downingtown, PA, where I've attended since 1973. I was baptized, confirmed, married there...my daughter was baptized and confirmed there...and I GET to be a worship leader there! I work hard at being a useful follower of Jesus Christ, and I try to share what I learn and my passion for worship with others. By day I'm a professional computer geek and 24/7 I'm a husband and father and son and friend.
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5 Responses to Among my soapboxes…

  1. George Haimbach says:

    NIce piece of writing, brother. What makes you think He gave you (only) 10 talents?

  2. allenhumcwl says:

    There are areas, very definitely, where I have more than 10, but there are areas where I’ve proven to Him that He should take my 10 and give them to someone else… But where I have 10, I do hope I can make progress toward getting more from Him!

  3. Allen,
    You write so beautifully. G-d doesn’t give you any more than you can handle is a hot button for me. There are things that happen that we have no control over, and I don’t think that is from G-d. (my beliefs) But no matter what happens, my faith, beliefs and prayers give me strength and I know that I’m not alone.

  4. allenhumcwl says:

    Thanks so much, Simma! I’m thinking that one word I failed to include in this commentary was “humility.” It really does take a healthy humility for us to even approach the notion that something in addition to our musculature and grey matter are what we need to get through the tricky slogs we face in life. So very glad to see you sharing that healthy humility in your comment!

  5. Mom says:

    Hi Allen: you certainly inherited great writing ability. In addition, it is very easy for you to share your wealth of knowlege about God and his wonderful blessings to us. I am so very honored to be your Mom. Since you were a baby, you never ceased to amaze me with all you watched, listened to, and managed to pass on to others. You are such a dear son. Love Mom

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