Hole in the ground

How do we know if we’re doing well in our work? Having a job in the helping services arena makes answering that question a tough one. So is there a way to appraise how we are doing?

My reading in the gospels this weekend was from Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus’ story of entrusted possessions. It is more popularly known as the Parable of the Talents. There were six things that stood out to me.

  1. God entrusts what he has to others.
  2. God earns where he hasn’t worked.
  3. God gives more to those that do something with what they have.
  4. God takes away from those that don’t.
  5. God only measures a person against oneself.
  6. God expects a person to invest what has been given.

Can we appraise how we are doing? I think the context of this story and one phrase in this story speaks to the fact that we won’t really know how we’ve done for a long time. This story is in the middle of the Olivet Discourse. Jesus tells this story in the context of talking about the future. In verse 19 he says. “After a long time….” Rick Warren says, “There are three things you can do with your life: waste it, spend it, or invest it. The best way to invest it is in the things that will outlast you.” That is the long view. If success is measured by what outlasts us, then we won’t know how we’ve done for a very long time.

However, I think this story speaks to one way we can appraise how we are doing. God entrusted more to the servant he first commended and took away from the one that didn’t do anything. Are your responsibilities shrinking or expanding? Are you seeing possessions (don’t just think monetary) grow, staying static, or shrinking? God gives more to the faithful. An honest look at the state of what God has entrusted to us is one way to appraise how we are doing.

The most important appraisal I see in this story is the personal appraisal. God settled accounts with each servant individually. The master’s commendation was personal. He didn’t say, “Let’s see how you compare with the other guy.” He said, “You have been faithful.”

I think this is how God deals with you. God only measures you against you. This is freeing and challenging at the same time. God has entrusted you with something of his own. He expects you to invest what you’ve been given.

How well are you doing in your work?

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