By Rita Langworthy
November 20, 2011
I am grateful to Dr. Musgrave for last Sunday’s sermon on the parable of the talents. He helped me understand my life…and my life is not easy to understand. Whatever I plan doesn’t work; and whatever I don’t plan, does. Life has always been a surprise, and it continues to be so.
As I retired after 40+ years in elementary education, I had a few plans, but none of them involved becoming granny/nanny. But here I am – part of a household with 3 adults – a granny/nanny (me), a father and a young mother. Three adults from 3 different generations, 3 different races, 3 different cultures; there are always at least 6 children…usually 7 or 8, and even more on the weekends; top it off with a poodle, a chihuahua and a bull mastiff and we have a very busy, interesting household. It happened so gradually, I never saw it coming.
Quite some time ago I went to the Lord to discuss these unexpected life circumstances. I said, “Sir, are we having communication problems? I said I’d like a cruise, not a crew. An Alaskan cruise. And for 35 years I hinted that when I retired I’d like a shiny, deep purple Jaguar. Lord, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m driving a mini-van that says, ‘Wash me!’ and has nuggets and fries under every seat.” We were interrupted by the cry of a child and I never finished the conversation. But He heard my complaint and answered it. He took away those desires of my heart. He instead gave me a most wonderful, unexpected, unique gift…a family to love and nurture.
Most days my cup runneth over with joy and satisfaction. Hugs, laughter, and small successes keep me going. But I am human, and even though I don’t feel it, AARP and now the Scooter Store remind me regularly that I am supposed to be old. I am ashamed to admit there are days when my cup runs dry…bone dry. I can do nothing but again complain, “Lord, I have nothing more to give. My strength is gone, what wisdom I had leaked out through a crack in my cup, and my last drop of patience is drizzling down the side. All I have to offer is this empty, cracked cup.” Someday He may take the cup and bless someone else with its opportunities, but so far He fixes it and fills it. His Spirit fills it with resolve and energy to get up and keep going. He fills it with help from the church: childcare so I can recharge at a women’s Bible study, a young person to help with homework, valet service to help load and unload, or those who go out of their way to offer support and encouragement. Sometimes I look in my cup and find…more kids!
Several of our weekend guests come from homes that practice a world religion very different from ours. Yet the children beg to come to church here. I know it is partly because of the outstanding Children’s Ministry. Thank you for supporting it and welcoming all children to it, but I can’t help but believe their desire to be here is also the response of a child’s heart to the God-given longing for Jesus. How could I do less than present, as an offering, my dusty van and my time to be sure these children get to church to hear the stories of Jesus and His love and experience the community of faith?
For a time I thought that was what God honored as my offering: my dusty van, most of my money, my time, and my midnight trips to Walmart to buy a shirt and tie for a guest who came without church clothes. But now I know it is more than that. He wants the gift He gave to me. He wants His precious children. He wants them cared for each day for His honor and glory. Make no mistake…this is not about me! I am not a hero. I am not a Mother Theresa. This is His story and these are His children. I am but a servant who has been given a ‘talent’ – a unique gift – for which I am responsible. When my Master comes for an accounting, I want to present college graduates, ministers, missionaries, loving mothers and fathers; grown-up, Christian, children of God… proof that through the mighty power of God, generational curses can be broken.
How about you? Might you have received a unique gift from God? Unexpected wealth, an unanticipated promotion, unexplained healing, surprise resources? I think He wants them back. As Dr. Musgrave pointed out last Sunday, each time you use your gift for His honor and glory, it will grow and prosper.
Thank you for your support for our family and please keep us in your prayers. And may you be richly blessed as you pledge your unique gift to God.