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Mark 8 v 36 - 37

There are some things which are lost unless used: talent is one such as if it is not used it will waste away. Life is like that, the willingness to give up one's life can determine true greatness. There may be a time in our life when we may need to offer up our life to save someone else's or to remain true to our faith. You may recall the parable Jesus gave about the servants and the talents, coins of gold. Those two servants who used their talents gained more, but the servant who buried his talent lost even that one gold coin. If we remain securely in our comfort zone, never venturing outside it, then we will never develop fully as human beings. Our relationship with God and the growing depth of it is dependent on being stretched. Think of George Muller, David Livingstone, Jackie Pullinger, Mother Teresa! We may never be called to do as they have done-there is the promise from God that He will stretch us, but never to breaking point (1 Corinthians 10 v 13)-as it does take a particular type of person to do what they did, but God guarantees that He will stretch us- He loves us too much to allow us to remain the same-and it may be painful. I have a dear friend who is a very gifted Christian theologian, but struggles with practical matters. He and his wife were missionaries in Kenya for ten years, working in a teaching seminary which he loved. But he was also given the administration of water for the students as an extra role and this required much in the way of practical skills and the ability to diplomatically keep the water officials on side! He struggled with that! God will often challenge our weaknesses in order to encourage us to lean more heavily on Him. Life does challenge our own ethos. We might find that we are doing a job we enjoy and which pays well, but which begins to eat away at our soul. We may be challenged to resign that job in order to preserve our sense of who we are. How do you answer these questions honestly? 1. Are you willing to sacrifice everything in order to be wealthy? 2. Are you willing to sacrifice your principles in order to be popular? 3. Are you prepared to sacrifice the things of lasting value in order to enjoy short term success? 4. Are you able to step back and see things the way God sees them? If you can do that you won't spend your life seeking the things which will destroy your soul.

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