"For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'
Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'
And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.' But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'
For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
I don't want anything to do with a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth... and yet, it is what I deserve. Somewhere... and I don't know when... a Spirit of Fear came over me and bound me up, and the crazy thing is... I didn't even know it. Under the grasp of this fear I took my talent and buried it.
I used to FLAUNT my talent when I was a child... ask my Mom. I was so proud of my talent, if I were going to SHARE my talent, I stood in front of the room until all eyes were on me. If you chatted amongst yourselves, I'd stop and wait until you were quiet again. I wanted to show everyone my talent.
When did something I loved to share and teach become something I just wanted to hide?
In my last blog, which left many of you concerned, I wrote to you that I felt like I wasn't being given a place to share this talent of mine. I wrote that I had been encountering gossip and backbiting, not only in church, but also in my family and other networks.
I had been encountering gossip at church and in my family. I had also been experiencing some tension in my dealings regarding the Children's Musical. And yes, this was distracting me from my prayer time. But on Thursday evening, after a lovely Thanksgiving meal, I heard the most hurtful words I have ever heard said about me. My husband listened to my favorite Aunt, my number one fan, tell my daughter: "Ellen, you are so talented, just like your Mom. What a waste."
It is this statement that pushed me over the edge. It is this statement that became the proverbial straw on the camel's back and I was hurt - hurt beyond words. After weeks of feeling hurt coming from everywhere and only desiring Peace, I needed to use this blog to speak into some lives. But then, God revealed something to me: He needed to provoke me. He needed me to GET UP.
Well, I'm up now.
God gave me a Vision of a Center for the Arts over three years ago, and I've been sitting on it. I've kicked it around a bit... kicked it aside a bit.... denied its existence a bit. But it keeps coming back. And silly, crazy me has come up with every excuse not to step out in faith and do what I'm being called to do. God told me to write letters to wealthy landowners who may just donate a parcel of land to build this Center for the Arts. I kept saying, "Yep, God. I'll write the letters." He kept using Pastor Bond's sermons to open my eyes to what I needed to do: "See the miracle." How many times have I heard Pastor Bond preach, "You have everything you need." And yet, I refused to move forward. I kept telling myself, "When Perez comes, he'll be able to tell me what I need to do." Perez never revealed anything to me about my occupation in life, but God used Perez to release me from that spirit of fear. The next step was that blog in being able to speak into others' lives. All the while, I felt God saying "You need to be bolder."
When I read Sister Sarah Klugh's Blog, it hit home when she wrote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. Its not just in some of us, its in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Between yesterday's sermons, last night's concert and coming home and turning to The Word, my heart is FULL. I believe and see the miracle. Then, through an incredible prayer and devotional time this morning another great thing was revealed to me: I spiritually had to step out of the way. The Center for the Arts is not about me and will never be about me. It is for God and His Glory. I am just a servant who will carry it out. This is what was meant when Pastor Bond and Sister Cora both said to me : "You will encounter great success when you begin to Acknowledge Him in All Things." None of this is for me or for my welfare. It is God's.
The Letters have been written and I'm ready to send them. I'll keep you updated with Praise Reports. Right now, I gotta go get my shovel. I know I have a few more talents buried around here. God has shown me that I'm going to need them.