May 17, 2017 Devotional: Gettin’ in the Dirt

Maybe you’ve heard this funny little story I’m about to share.

Two people are having a conversation.

Person A says to Person B:  “I’m a Ninja

Person B replies.  “No, you’re not“.

Person A says:  “Did you see me do that….?”

Do what..?” asks Person B.

Exactly…..” replies Person A while grinning from ear to ear.

Everyone has a handful of hidden talents but there’s one or two that bubble to the top as the best ones.

What’s yours?

Balancing a spoon on the tip of your nose?

Running a mile in under 4 minutes?

Or maybe doing that crazy thing where you curl your tongue up?  Know what I’m talking about?

My hidden talent is my ability to find things in complete darkness, walking around like a ninja, barely making any sounds.

My wife would probably agree to this notion as well.

I work in the software industry.  Software testing, to be more specific.  And in that field, I often have to go into the Uptown Charlotte office in the middle of the night.  Usually, I will sort out my laptop bag, clothes and anything else I might want before going to bed.  Then, when it’s time for me to wake up and head into my office, my goal is always to not wake anyone else up in the house.

Most of the time, I’m successful in my efforts.  Heck, I even manage to take a quick shower before heading out in the middle of the night.  No one stirs one bit!  Truthfully, I’m a little bit at an advantage because the boys and my wife all sleep with sound machines on their night stands, each with the soothing sounds of white noise.

Not making any disruptive noise is one thing.  But what really makes me a ninja is that I move around without the aid of having to turn on any lights.  Last night, for example, I had a late night conference call at 11 pm.  I realized just before the call that I had left my freshly poured, Arnold Palmer sweet tea glass in the bedroom.  I slowly opened the door so as not to wake up my wife who had just fallen asleep.  Without the aid of any lights, I reached out and found my Yeti tumbler with the beverage.

One attempt.  Success!

Then, slowly I slipped back out the bedroom door without waking my bride.

Ninja….did you see that?

Our hidden talents can be useful in giving us an advantage in whatever situations we might be facing.  Hidden talents separate us from all others in most cases.  If you’re that sub-4 mile track runner, I can guarantee that your hidden talent separates you from the pack…literally!

Have you ever asked yourself about Jesus’ hidden talents?  I bet he had many…thousands perhaps.  The Son of our Creator, you bet there were no stops applied when adding talents to his DNA.

Miracles aside, Jesus, however, rarely used any talents to take advantage of others.  Take, for example, His use of parables to tell a specific lesson or meaning.  Often times, those listening to Jesus’ parables, were left scratching their heads.

Certainly, Jesus had the hidden talent of being direct and could have used that talent to make sure no one was left in the dark when he concluded with a parable.  So why wasn’t He more direct and to the point?

Ah…but listen closely to this next explanation.

In Luke, Chapter 8, verse 10, we read:

“To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.” Luke 8:10

Before getting to verse 10, Jesus had told a parable that talks about a seed and it’s ability to grow in four different places.  In the first three scenarios, the seed does not take “hold” and therefore does not grow.  One seed falls on a hard path; another falls onto rocky ground; and the last falls into thorns.  Finally, in the fourth scenario, the seed prospers because it lands on good soil.

If we think of Jesus as not using His talents to be direct to give a lesson, then we have our energy focused in the wrong place.  The “seed” in the parable represents Jesus’ message.  However, the different landing spots for that seed, be it hard ground, rocks, or thorns, represent our willingness to be receptive and listen.

You see, Jesus’ talents were in fact never hidden in the first place.  We, however, are the ones who hide our abilities to grasp the messaging.

Kinda ironic that Jesus uses a parable to explain why he has to talk in parables?

Heavy stuff.

The three seeds that don’t survive are metaphors for some of the challenges we all face.

The seed that doesn’t survive the hard path symbolizes the devil who sweeps away our goodness.

The seed that doesn’t survive the rocky ground symbolizes those who don’t have strong roots in God’s Word, and are therefore blown away over time.

And, lastly, the seed that falls into the thorns, symbolizes those who let life’s many distractions choke them from Jesus’ victory.

My prayer today is that we remain focused on the good soil that allows us a firm foundation yet permits seeds with deeper roots, healthy branches, and fruit to make us thrive.