I’ve always sympathized with the one talent man in Jesus’ parable of the talents. The poor man was full of self-doubt and so afraid of his inability to produce a profit from his master’s assets. Instead of using the talent he was given to be productive, he hid the money. When the master returned, he simply returned the money with nothing to show for the time that had passed.

Although the “talents” in the parable refer to money, it’s still a powerful analogy to the modern idea of talents. How many of us are so afraid of failure that we freeze in a state of indefinite inaction? How many of us go through our entire lives “playing it safe” rather than investing our time, money, and talents into the kingdom of God?

Feeling inadequate

Every stage of life has its own excuses for inaction. I’ve been too young, too single, childless, a stressed out single mom, and a stressed out wife with a houseful of kids. Other times I held back because I figured it wasn’t my place. Maybe people would be offended for me to say or do something as a woman. Maybe I will scare people away because I am awkward and introverted and don’t always know what to say. Excuses, excuses.

There are too many examples in the Bible to refute these excuses. Moses was not a good speaker, Gideon was a bit of a coward, Samuel was a child, Paul was a murderer…the list goes on and on. God uses imperfect people. His strength is made perfect in weakness. He draws near to the humble. He created the body of Christ with diverse members bearing various abilities to build up the church. There is no excuse for inaction. We have all been called to pick up a cross and follow Jesus wherever he leads.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit [of all]: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another [different] kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

I Corinthians 12:7-11 NKJV

Waiting on the right time

Another common excuse for inaction is, “the time just isn’t right”. We think we lack the skills or the time to do what God has called us to.

While there certainly are times when this is true, most of the time I’ve found it to be an excuse in my own life. Of course there are tasks that we aren’t truly ready to undertake, and times when we need to study and learn more before we proceed. But there are also many times that we say we aren’t ready not because it is true, but because we are afraid.

Walking away from the fear

Fear can be so paralyzing. We know on an intellectual level that we aren’t to be driven by fear. There is no fear in love (I John 4:18). God tells us not to fear hundreds of times in the Bible. So how do we walk away from the fear?

The first step in leaving fear behind is recognizing it for what it is. When we decide not to act on something, we should question the root cause of our hesitation.

  • Am I afraid of failure?
  • Am I worried about offending other people instead of focusing on pleasing God?
  • Do I fear what I may lose if I move forward with this?
  • Do I worry about leaving my comfort zone?
  • Is there a biblical reason why I should be hesitating?

After we determine whether or not fear is the culprit that is dragging us down, it is much easier to proceed. We can study and pray further; we can seek out wise counsel from those we trust. Fear grows when we allow it to consume us. When we focus on God and others, the fear cannot continue to thrive.

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

I Timothy 4:12-14 NKJV

Resolutions

I’ve spent too much of my life as the proverbial one-talent man. It’s time to get out of hiding and put my talents to work. My primary resolution for the new year is to walk away from the one-talent mentality and to boldly pursue the will of God. I want to put myself aside and to humbly welcome all who come my way. To embrace interruptions with grace and speak the truth in love. To redeem the time and keep my eyes on the kingdom.

P.S.

In the process of writing this, I stumbled across a post on Instagram referencing Five Bad Reasons To Wait, which I find worth the read. It was such a timely find that I had to share!