Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two Talents Instead of Five

Thanksgiving is next week. A few days after that is my birthday. I have a great deal to be thankful for. I have a job that, though it doesn’t pay very much, doesn’t leave me feeling miserable at the end of each day. I have a great family: parents, siblings, a few close cousins, etc. I’ve been able to see and experience some pretty amazing things in my life. I’ve dug for dinosaur bones, been the producer and co-host of an international award-winning radio program, and walked atop the white cliffs of Dover. I currently live in a rural and somewhat remote area and I sometimes joke with people that it would be nice to have some friends, but the truth is that I have friends literally spread around the world and many of them I’m still on a good basis with. Also, even though I’m an impoverished American (poverty in America is much different than the rest of the world), every one of my needs has been provided for. My faith is the central core of who I am and God has been good.

Yet, despite all of these blessings in my life, I find myself struggling to be content. Most of my friends from high school and college are now married and have families of their own. Most are earning incomes of thirty, forty, fifty, and some close to a hundred-thousand dollars a year. They have their own homes and drive around in vehicles that aren’t on the verge of breaking down and falling apart. Some have gone quite far in their chosen careers and are now in positions of power and prestige in their communities.

I try not to compare myself to any of that. But it’s extremely difficult sometimes. I was born poor. I’ve tried to rise above that while still truly living life to the fullest, but the fact is I’m still poor. I don’t own a home and though someday would like to, I know that it might be financially impossible for me to ever do that (besides I have wanderlust I constantly have to deal with). I drive a car that is seventeen years old; being poor and already in debt doesn’t allow for one to do buy new cars. As for matters of the heart, I’m pretty much a complete loser in that aspect and though I’m content being single, but I can’t deny that I’d really like to be married someday. As for careers, well, neither of the professions I chose to pursue thus far have turned out very well. I really want to make movies and write. I was supposed to go to film school several years ago, but gave that up to get a teaching certificate instead. I can make a great teacher, but that field hasn’t turned out very well and the politics of education in America has soured me about it. In all honestly, instead of teaching I’d much rather make movies, but finding those opportunities with hardly any experience is incredibly difficult where I’m at right now. I’d move to a better locale, but moving requires money and once again I’m back to being poor. (As for writing, I do that and do it well. I just may never have the connections to be able to turn my writing into some sort of income.)

Lately, I find myself thinking about Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matt. 25:13-30). In that parable a master gave one of his servants five talents, another two, and another one. He did this just before he left on a long journey that he might not come back from. But he came back and we he did he went to those three servants to see how well they did with what he gave them. The guy with five doubled his, the guy with two doubled his, but the guy with one buried his in the ground. The guy with five and two were rewarded but the guy with one was literally thrown to the wolves. I don’t think I’m like the guy who just had one and then hoarded it. I’ve never really imagined myself as the guy who was given five either. Instead, I’ve always felt I was more like the guy who was given two. He wasn’t given very much, but he doubled the investment by the time his master returned. The thing I keep thinking about is the servant who was only given two talents. He started out with only two while his friend was given five. The guy who was given five talents had a huge advantage over him. I know the master only gave them what they could handle, but that still doesn’t stop me from pondering what would have happened if the servant with two had started out with three talents instead of two.

As Thanksgiving approaches with my birthday soon after, I have to remind myself that I only have control over what has been given to me. Other people are not you. Even though I wrestle with tinges of jealousy when I see my bosses son’s new BMW or hear about another girl I was kind of attracted to now dating, engaged, or married to someone else or find out about a friend’s recent promotion, I won’t let those feelings of jealousy control me. I’ve lived, and not just existed, a pretty good life so far. I am blessed and God has been faithful. Despite not being where I would like to be or doing exactly what I want to, I know things are going to turn out. Life moves too fast for me to compare myself to others and I am what I am.

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