Henry Cloud: There is no excuse

Henry Cloud writes:

That is very much like what the loser in the responsibility lottery said in the parable of the talents. Remember the story? The master gives three people different amounts of resources to invest. The first two make their investments and get nice returns. The master rewards them with more resources. But the third blamed the master for not giving him what he thought he needed to make it work, so he did nothing with what had been entrusted to him.

Notice something. God did not say, “What are you talking about? I have not been mean to you! I have given you everything you needed to be successful with your talent!” Nor did he say, “Gosh, you are right. It is tough to only have one talent. Here, I will do your work for you.” Neither what God had given this man nor what he had not given him was the issue. The issue was just one thing: what had he done with what was given him? How had he used it? How had he responded to the options that were available to him? Had he tried his best and failed, he would not have been graded on the failure. He was graded simply on whether or not he had acted responsibly with what had been dealt to him.

When the man made excuses, accusing God of harshness to the point of expecting too much of a person, God could have said, “No, I am not harsh. I do not ask for a return where I have not given anything. Didn’t I start you out with a talent?” But he didn’t say this because the issue was deeper than whether or not the servant had a good excuse. In fact, God’s answer to the man recognised that his excuses may have been real! But they didn’t matter. He said that even if those things were true, the man still should have at least done something! At the very least he should have taken responsibility and put the money to some kind of use. In other words, there is no excuse.

Perhaps our excuses may somewhat define and describe our options, but they do not do away with our responsibility. We still have the freedom to respond to whatever comes our way, whether we get tons of talents or only one.

All of us have certain areas of our life in which we only get “one talent.” And those are the areas where we will be most afraid to make a positive choice. But God has designed the universe in such a way that he expects us to use the freedom he has given us to take responsibility for our situation, find the possible options, and respond to them.

It’s Not My Fault: The No Excuse Plan for Overcoming Life’s Obstacles and Enjoying Gods Bestby Henry Cloud and John Townsend

9514721-_uy200_

I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

Another line from the song Counting Every Blessing that we’ve been singing:

I was blind, now I’m seeing in colour
I was dead, now I’m living forever
I had failed, but You were my Redeemer
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

I was lost, now I’m found by the Father
I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure
I’ve been given a hope and a future
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season You are good to me

I've been blessed beyond all measure

Job 19: How I long for that day

“If only my words were written in a book—
    better yet, chiselled in stone!
Still, I know that God lives—the One who gives me back my life—
    and eventually he’ll take his stand on earth.
And I’ll see him—even though I get skinned alive!—
    see God myself, with my very own eyes.
    Oh, how I long for that day!”

Job 19:25-27, The Message

Explore tomorrow: At Lake Galilee

In tomorrow’s Explore service, we look at a passage that tells us something about the work we set out to do in the world, and Jesus’ involvement in that work.  It’s quite an inspiration.  Join Roy and Pat at Ottery St Mary Parish Church, 11.15am.  There will be no separate children’s meetings in this service, but it will be planned with all ages in mind.

Worried about your children falling away from faith? Take them on a mission trip

In the Premier Christianity blog, Church leader and writer Emma Fowle writes:

Our children need to have a living and active faith. Sunday school and Bible study isn’t enough.  A couple of months ago, my husband and I took our nine and eleven year old daughters to Ethiopia.

Instead of the usual family holiday, we spent ten days volunteering at Ebenezer Shepherding Ministries Africa (ESMA). We helped in the orphanage, tutored children, distributed equipment and shoes that we had brought with us.

We had many questions in the run up to the trip – and so did many of our friends and family. Was it safe? Would the children cope with the heat, the food and the poverty? Would they find the orphanage and the children’s physical illnesses overwhelming? The short answer is Yes, and No.

It was overwhelming for all of us at times, but we coped with all of these challenges, and many more. We learned more about ourselves than I thought possible, but perhaps most importantly, we were able to go and serve God together as a family, a faith adventure in which our children were equal partners.

Our children have been in church their whole lives. But one day, they will cease to be there by dint of our involvement alone, and will have to make their own minds up about what faith means to them.

At that point, head knowledge alone will not be enough. Continue reading “Worried about your children falling away from faith? Take them on a mission trip”