Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Burying my talents?

I was wondering if any Christians feel the way I do after they become a parent...

After I converted to Christianity, yet before I became a parent, I felt very much like the servant who used two talents in an attempt to serve his master. (The first was music ministry, the second was apologetics). I used these two talents heavily, God blessed me richly, and I enjoyed it all (I don't know if anyone other than myself benefitted from these talents but that is a question for another day).

And then the kids arrived.

Over the past six years, I tried a few times to use those old talents but found that it just wasn't working out. Yes, it is possible to play the piano in Church with children crawling on your lap but when they started banging on keys, it seemed obvious that for everything there is a time, and that time is not now. Yes, there were and are plenty of opportunities to get involved with Church outreach programs, but when the wife got exhausted, kept going hard despite a weakened immune system, and got shingles, it also seemed pretty obvious that my timing was way off.

And so the past six years have been characterised by a lack of use of those two talents. At first, it was hard for me to give that up but I have come to see my wife and family as sufficiently important to give up these preferred activities. After all, Our Lord interrupted his "teaching" session with the disciples at the Last Supper in order to wash their feet. Surely changing diapers and cleaning vomit and milk off the floors (thank you Lord, for giving me the wisdom to drive the plague of carpets from our house) have an important place in my own responsibilities as follower of Christ. Overall, I have learned to find a measure of joy, peace, and satisfaction in my more mundane activities (like replacing a toilet, sanding a cupboard, or disposing of dead mice) which far outstrips what I had during my years as a single Christian exercising his talents.

And yet, while at the plow, I turn my head back (yes, I know this makes me unfit for the kingdom of God), and remember those two buried talents and wonder: "what will the Lord say to me?" He warned us that the worthless servant that buries their talents will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:29).

Any other Christian parents ever feel like their talents are rotting away due to lack of use?


Dave King said...

I think it was Ajith Fernado at Urbana 93 who said family was our number one mision field entrusted too us. More us need to remember that.

- Peace

Joseph said...

Well, I sometimes think that I have a preference to use that talents that I, personally, take pleasure from, and that Jesus challenges me to use the talents which don't necessarily leave me feeling satisfied. I changed my share of diapers, which is an art form in and of itself, but it's never left me with quite the same feeling as when I pull off a lead to charlie parker tune and incorporate it into a worship setting.

I think I've gone from "welcoming a righteous man" to "welcoming a prophet" to seeing the eternal value in "giving a cup of cold water to one of these little ones."

good thoughts