Rise Above the Bare Minimum

“To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” Matthew 25:15-18 NIV

During a conversation I had with one of my sisters a few weeks ago, the one thing that stood out in my mind was the bare minimum. Our conversation was in regards to having a minimum standard or baseline in relationships…and it made me think about my past relationships and how, at first, I had a bare minimum that I was willing to accept. Over the years of painful break-ups, life experiences and situations, I realized that the bar had gotten down to a place that was seemingly unrecognizable to me. Pondering that even deeper, I realized as a result of life experiences in the past, I had gotten to points where I was doing the bare minimum in maintaining my relationship with God. At those times, when given the same opportunity as the servant above, I had squandered my ‘talents.’

In times of hurt I have even given the bare minimum to others – loving less, caring less, and being less available. In essence, I behaved exactly like this servant, burying the things that defined me and make me Marquita out of fear. In the text above, Jesus tells a parable. This servant last mentioned, who received only one talent, acted out of fear and did the bare minimum. He was too afraid of what could happen and instead denied himself, and the talents, the opportunity to grow. He put the minimum amount of effort into using the ‘talent’ he was given, and in the end, he ended up losing it. Verse 26 says “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

In the end, the servant with the one talent is stripped of everything. His talent is given to the servant with 10 talents. When we settle, get complacent, or simply refuse to acknowledge the talents and gifts we have by giving them opportunities to grow and flourish, we put ourselves in danger of losing them. Living life with the bare minimum as the standard keeps you from really living and thus you end up living in a cocoon or a vacuum. You will miss out on dreams, never surpassing your current level in life simply because you will not rise to the occasion and pass the bare minimum. Ask yourself, as I have asked myself lately, what more can you do? How else can you improve? What more can you do for God? Do you want your talents and gifts to go to someone else? Not me!! No more bare minimum living!

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:19-21 ESV
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matthew 25:24-29 ESV

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