“NO! I won’t do it!”
“I don’t want to!”
“I’m NOT doing ITTTT!”
It was a tantrum of biblical proportions.
I wish I could say this tantrum came from one of my children. Or a toddler at the grocery store. An ornery kid at the park, even.
But no. The perpetrator of this magnificent tantrum was me – 44-year-old me.
It all started at church a few months ago. Our pastor was talking about financial stewardship and shared the Parable of the Talents. In this parable, Jesus tells of a man preparing for a journey who entrusts his servants with his possessions. To one he gives five talents (or coins), to another two, and to another, one.
The first two men trade with their talents and double their master’s money.
The third servant, afraid of his master, buries his one talent in the ground.
When the master returns his first two servants eagerly share how they doubled their money. The master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The third servant, however, has his one talent taken away from him. “For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
In this parable, the master represents God. He has given each of us “talents” and we are to use them to further His kingdom – NOT bury them in the sand!
As we left church that Sunday, we were each handed a $10 bill. We were challenged to invest the $10 in some creative way to grow it for the church and bring the resulting gifts back in a few months.
This was not a “pay it forward” challenge. That would have been easy! No, this money had to be increased for God’s kingdom.
And this is where my tantrum kicked in. I am not creative. I cannot cook or bake. I cannot knit or sew or draw or build anything. I’m not crafty or artistic. I hate to sell. My husband tried to come up with ideas for our family, as we had each taken a $10 bill.
“We can buy $40 worth of baking supplies and bake cookies and sell them,” he enthusiastically suggested. “NO!” came my reply.
No, no, no. I don’t bake. I don’t sell. I’m not going door to door. “I hated doing that as a Girl Scout and I’m not doing it now,” I pouted.
Talk about having a poor attitude! And being a terrible example for my children. I was so ashamed of my negativity and lack of joy. I was so rigid in my ways that I didn’t even want to consider pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Not for my family and not for God.
This wouldn’t do.
As the deadline loomed, I considered giving my $10 back. And then I remembered the parable. I was burying my talent in the sand. Would I be the worthless servant? I prayed for help.
As usual, the Lord delivered. I came up with an idea!
I would use my $10 to buy nail polish and offer a simple $5 manicure. If I could convince just four friends to help me out, I could double my investment! Still uncertain, I decided to post my idea on Facebook and see what type of feedback I would receive. I immediately had at least five friends agree to a manicure! I was thrilled.
In the end, I gave eight manicures resulting in a healthy return on my initial investment. I really enjoyed giving manicures to my friends. It allowed us to spend time together and catch up over painting nails and sipping tea. I saw the generous nature of others. It made me more willing to help, even if I don’t necessarily need the service being offered.
Most importantly, I learned that I don’t have to have an instantaneous, mind-blowingly perfect idea for every act required of me. I just have to have a willing and obedient heart. Despite my tantrums, God was able to use me and so many others to extend His kingdom in small and big ways. I’m grateful that He saw past my petulance.
And I hope He will be able to say to each of us one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Silva Emerian is from Boston but has been a California girl since 2001. With a long and varied background in fashion, she is a freelance writer and editor, wife and mother to two active boys. She lives in Clovis, where shoes and chocolate make her world go ’round. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on her blog OnMyShoebox.com, on Facebook and Instagram @onmyshoebox.