Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Ball Is In My Court

               I am one of those people that have lots of questions. I question just about everything. I want to know who, what, when, why and how of just about everything. I sometimes never seem to be satisfied unless I get to the bottom of it. This also translates to my walk with God. I ask Him a lot of questions. I sit before Him and ask Him who, what, when, why and how about His Word, my life, prayers, and just about anything else I can think of. Since He is a faithful God He usually gives me an answer.  I just sometimes don’t like the answer He gives me, which leads me to the point of writing this blog today. This morning I asked Him a question, and He gave me an answer that I not only didn't want to hear, but He has already answered it for me- many times. Yet, I keep asking, and He, ever so patient and longsuffering with me- keeps giving me the same answer.
                My question was about my purpose. What is the purpose that my life is supposed to have? What am I to be doing for Him? How does He want me to do it, and when does He want me to do it? And, last but not least, why does He want me to do it. Over and over again I seem to have this conversation with Him. I know the answer to all these questions, because, like I said- we have had this conversation many times before. I just don’t always like the answer He gives me. Today was no different. This morning He gave me an answer that cut me to the core of my being and showed me that the choice to fulfill the purposes He has for me is in my hands. The ball is in my court. He has shown me, now it’s up to me to do something with it.
               Let me expound a minute, (please be patient with my ramblings!) I know that my purpose on this earth is to glorify Him, to point people to Jesus, to share the gospel with anyone and everyone. We all have this purpose.  “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” (John 15:16) He has given each one of us gifts and talents to fulfill the purposes He has for us, which is seen in the fruit of our works. One of my gifts is teaching. I didn’t always see it, and I fought against it for years. But, in the end, teaching others to love the Lord their God, to show them the truth of His Word is one of my gifts. He has given me the opportunity to use this gift in our women’s bible study, and through various speaking engagements that He brings to my door. The talent that He has given me is writing. I like to write, I always have. My writing is a talent- to be used in conjunction with the gift of teaching. Through my writing I am also teaching.
                 But like I said previously, the ball is in my court. What He spoke to me today regarded the choices that I make in relation to the purposes He has for my life. He has given me gifts and talents, but I choose whether or not to use them for His glory. You see, I am struggling with starting my next book project. I know what He has shown me, I know what He wants me to do, I know the when, the how, and the why- but for some reason I am not doing it. You see, we all have the same purpose on this earth- to glorify God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The gifts and talents He gives us are to be used for this purpose. However, we choose whether or not to walk in them.
                Clearly He spoke to me today and showed me that there is no one to blame for the choices I make except myself. No one is forcing me to choose a different path and He is not forcing me to choose His path. Every day the choice to serve Him or serve myself is before me. In the end, no one is to blame for the choices I make except me. No one can force me to do anything, and my God certainly does not force His will on me. We have free-will. We choose to walk in His Spirit, or we choose to walk in our flesh. We choose to lie or tell the truth. We choose to stand or sit, we choose. We either choose Him or we choose self. It really is that simple.
                “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) We make the choice to serve the Lord in the gifts and talents He has given us or we choose to serve other gods which will lead us astray. Joshua says to the people, and the Lord says to us today, to choose- choose whom you want to serve and then use the gifts and talents He has given us to fulfill the purposes He has laid before us. It is that simple.
                Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” He has prepared beforehand the good works that He wants us to do- but we have to choose to walk in them. We must make the choice to stand in what we know God is asking us to do, and with purpose of heart, we must choose over and over again to do it. I choose to do other things that fill my time, rather than sit down and do the writing that He has asked of me. I choose to fill my days with other things rather then fill them with the things He has prepared for me to do. We must choose Him, even though He chose us, we still have to take the ball into our own hands and choose Him.
                In the end, when I stand before the Lord my God and He asks me about the choices I have made in my life, I alone will be held accountable for them. No one has forced me to make the decisions I have made. No one will be there when I stand before Him; it will be just me and Him. He is right (as always) the ball is in my court. I choose to make use of the talents and the gifts He has given me, no one else. He gives them to me as a gift but I must choose to do something with them.
                Remember the story Jesus told us about the men and the talents? In Matthew 25:14-30,
Jesus tells us about some men who were given talents. Each one went out and did something with their talents, all except one. The one chose to bury his talents in the ground. He chose not to do anything with what the Lord had given him. Do you remember what Jesus said to that man? He said, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  ‘So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. ‘Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” Because this servant chose not to do anything at all with the talents he had been given, everything else was taken away.
                Seems like a harsh way to look at the choices we make in regards to the purposes of God for our lives, but we need to be honest with ourselves. The only ones responsible for the choices we make are us who make them. There are no excuses because God has given us the choice to choose for ourselves. Our God is faithful, and He is always faithful to answer the questions I ask Him, and like I said- I don’t always like His answers. But He is right; even though this truth hurt, the choice to use the gifts and the talents He has given me is in my hands. The ball is in my court.

 I do not know where you are at in your walk, or what the Lord God has asked you to do, but I do hope that today you and I will choose to use the gifts and the talents He has given us for His glory, because in the end, the choice is and always will be ours. To You alone be the glory, honor and praise, Jesus Christ, forever and ever, amen.