Author and theologian Frederick Buechner has said that God calls you to that place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. This is how we’re wired. In the beginning, we discover that we have a God-shaped hole in our hearts—nothing fills it but him. Then, as we accept his lordship, we find a new empty place. This one is in the shape of the people he loves. It will be filled and galvanized by the mission he has given us.
So we don’t pursue impact for the ordinary reasons of fame or impressing someone. We don’t pursue it out of sense of obligation. We’re chasing that deep gladness that comes when we address the needs God has set before us. Everywhere on earth, from mansions to slums, from deserts to cities, there are people suffering. They may be hungry; they may be sick; they simply may not have heard the saving truth about Jesus. These people are God’s children. If you’re a parent, think of how you feel about your kids. When they’re in pain, you’re in pain. You would do anything, pay any price, to alleviate their suffering. You would even take their pain upon yourself if you could.
That’s what God has done for us in Christ. He provided a way out of our suffering. And it is what he does through you and through me, to make that way available to all of his children.
So impact is important to us. God has a process for preparing us for impact. It’s best told in the Parable of the Talents (to use the term of the NIV84) in Matthew 25. A talent, in the language of those times, was a unit of weight for measuring money—like saying “a pound of gold,” for example. In the parable, three servants were given money based on their abilities, and rewarded based on their investments. The master says to the most effective of the investors, “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!” (Matthew 25:21).
Deep gladness is the sharing of the Master’s happiness that comes from using our resources for the things God intended. One of the servants was given just a little bit, and he played it safe; he buried his talents in the ground. This is not God’s desire. He wants us to take what we have and multiply it. If you have people-related talents—network. If you have financial resources—invest. If you have creative talents—expand them so that, in some way, the most possible people have an opportunity to become followers of Jesus.
Continue to read “Eternal Investments”
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