The Stewardship of Effort
By Arthur L. Larson
When we think of the details of the Stewardship of Life we often separate them into three groups: Time, Talent, and Treasure. Having three words starting with “T” seems to be easier to retrieve from our memory.
This article delves into the second “T”: the stewardship of talent.
Talent in the Scriptures deals usually with two things: money and abilities. We speak of the talents in the parable of 10-2-1 talents and the difference in their use for investment and what it entails as compared to saving it by burial.
Then we speak of talents as abilities listed in Matthew as preaching, teaching, baptizing, healing and serving. When we investigate this avenue we start realizing that all take effort — and if we follow Matthew’s gospel, the effort will be for the glory of God and the main use of our spiritual energy.
Each of the five ways requires effort, and the effort will be different for each task and probably different for each individual.
This depends on his or her own capability and experience in carrying out the task to its proper conclusion.
Effort is love in action with the faith given by God and developed by us, deciding the way and the final result.
Love in action requires energy given to us by God and always usable for the glory of God. When energy flows through our being, it becomes much easier when we, with vigor — containing our integrity, spend the necessary time to fully express our thanks to our God. It also assures us of renewal of energy should it be required.
To prepare for effort we must learn when energy is needed and use thrift to accumulate the energy. History and experience need to be available from our memory to produce adequate effort to reach our goal of having it expended for the glory of God. Always we have to depend on God with our faith to furnish sufficient energy (love) to any problem that focuses on the glory of God.
Effort sometimes requires help from those about us. We must be prepared to seek that help and to use it effectively for the glory of God.
We always have the source of energy available from our God. But, it may require our commitment. Certainly our repentance will help, as it is available at the cross of Jesus Christ and in all the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Effort has no time limitations since God provides time according to His wisdom. We must learn to use time effectively as it is an attribute of God.
Effort requires commitment to our Lord and listening to that “still small voice” revealing to us His help in many, many forms.
Appreciation of these gifts (grace) gives us the opportunity for joyful witnessing to the world about us the love of God that culminates in the redemption through the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Effort in prayer is the telling to God our adoration, contrition, thanks, and supplication. It establishes communication to and from our God, and we have the joy of renewal and participation in the real fact that God is love.
Effort is the “works” that James talks about when he quotes “Faith without works is dead!”
Effort has to be maintained to assure we have confidence in our belief that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, since this is one of the principal items of faith. Without effort we cannot maintain confidence that is so necessary to us in dealing directly with our Lord and Savior.
Arthur L. Larson, who died in 2000, was a lay Lutheran whose financial gifts established and continue to fund the Stewardship of Life Institute. Click here for more on Mr. Larson. He wrote this for the Spring 1994 issue of Faith in Action.
© Copyright 1994, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This essay first appeared in the Spring 1994 issue of Faith in Action. Articles in Faith in Action may be reproduced for use in ELCA and ELCIC congregations provided each copy carries the note:
© Copyright 1996, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reprinted with permission.
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