A message I recently heard on the Parable of the Ten Minas taught me, “Even though the work you do may not feel worth it, the person you are doing the work for is worth it.”
This concept is simple in theory, but it can be difficult to apply on a daily basis. It is based on the assumption that something outside of instant (maybe even long-term) gratification is what measures worth.
I have always known that I am not particularly great at stepping beyond what I feel at the moment. But it never seemed like a huge obstacle for me, because in terms of the typical “Minas” God gave me (education, music, career, etc.), even if I’m having a bad day or don’t see the point, I can work hard without significant difficulty.
Yet even though God wants me to steward these tangible gifts, I’ve realized this work is too often reward-driven. It is not illogical to work hard and sacrifice for the things of both God and the world, because ultimately, there is also an earthly reward: recognition, praise, development, even just knowledge. The message convicted me of 1) focusing too much on earthly rewards rather than on their greater heavenly counterparts, and 2) too often forgetting that my reason behind my actions should be to give glory to One who is worthy.
The message also reminded me that there is one gift that Jesus gives us that matters more than all of the above: the Gospel. When it comes to furthering the Kingdom of God, there is often no earthly reward. There is no incentive to do so, which is why a Christian’s mission is foolish and nonsensical to the world. Yet furthering the Kingdom requires heavy toil, diligence, and most of all, faithfulness. It requires setting one’s heart upon the desires of the Spirit rather than those of the flesh.
When it comes to doing what it takes to further the Kingdom of God – praying, leading by example even when it is hard, teaching others, and so on – I pray that I will neither become complacent nor act act out of obligation. I pray that I will continuously be grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made, and for the love that makes it all worth it.