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Kingdom of Heaven (ACAD: Matthew 25)

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 25:1-46 –

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Steward of Little Things

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. ~ Luke 16:10

I’ve only worked in two industries since my first job at age sixteen. I’ve worked for various employers throughout the years, but my skill set has been consistently improved upon.

Currently, I work for a giant in the financial industry. A few times over the years I have mentioned my beginnings at McDonald’s and watched as those listening shifted in unease. I’m sure my humble beginnings aren’t unique in my workplace, however such beginnings aren’t mentioned as a rule. People here talk about their corporate tenures at other financial juggernauts (the older ones). The younger ones talk about their study at affluent universities and their connections that landed them their positions. As an administrative assistant in the financial industry, I’m not expected to join in with the chest puffing rituals. I don’t, but it’s very interesting to observe.

My current career path is nothing I planned. Take note. My professional goals had nothing to do with being someone’s administrative assistant. As I’ve grown in my walk with Christ I’ve grown to enjoy my role as an assistant. It’s actually a personality trait for me. I love helping people. And when I got over how my social network would look at me for being an “admin” I was able to appreciate how my day job was assisting me with my life job (perfecting my character). I will tell you, my current role has increased and prospered me far more than anything I had planned for myself.

God knows what He has planned for you. He knows where you’re going to end up and what skills and experiences you need to be a success when you get there. Your natural inclinations (gifts) will be used to further His Kingdom and prosper your physical life. Relationships will be used to sharpen you (friction). If you learn well from those experiences, you will eventually be gifted with relationships that compliment you (melding of talents).

My performance in my current role has roots in skills and habits I learned while working at McDonald’s.

I’m one of those people who get slightly offended when people flippantly comment that someone is only good for flipping burgers. I always reply that flipping burgers requires some skill. I didn’t always think that way. My aunt made me apply to McDonald’s because I wasn’t accepted to any internships my junior year in high school. I had reached an age where she refused to pay for my toiletries and entertainment. I remember being so embarrassed handing in my McDonald’s application. But that embarrassment only lasted as long as the first day of training.

But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.  ~ Matthew 23-11-12

I feel truly blessed to have had McDonald’s as my first job, especially with the group of people I was placed with. I cleaned toilets, baseboards, swept and mopped, scrubbed floors, washed dishes, picked up trash, took out trash, unloaded stock, took inventory, flipped burgers, made sandwiches, worked the fry station, took orders, prepared orders, backed up order takers, trained the burger flippers and order takers (as well as the maintenance staff and hostesses), trained managers, and then I was managing the crew and other managers. I was a superb manager; ask anyone who didn’t like me. One thing I never did was ask someone to do something I wasn’t willing to do. I had a few challengers. When a couple of people refused to do certain jobs, they were asked to punch out. I saw no need to pay them if I had to do their job for them. That quirk of mine usually saved me from having uncomfortable altercations with employees.

I was diligent in my job and responsibilities. I expected everyone working with me to be the same. If you weren’t a hard worker,  I didn’t want you on my shift. Sloppy work reflected not just on me as a manager but the restaurant and the company.

Fast forward nearly twenty years. Ninety seconds or less is still evident in my work flow. I get an assignment I start on it immediately and usually don’t stop until it’s complete or in motion in some way. I support a high level executive. One veteran executive assistant once shared a list of things she did not do for her boss  – run errands, get coffee, etc. I’m okay with nearly anything that’s a professional courtesy. I’ve served coffee and water, I’ve run out to grab lunch for my boss when she’s been in a block of meetings. I’ll hang your coat, take messages, and print copies for you. I don’t like filing, but it improves organization and work product, so I do it and do it well. I don’t care for the attitudes of everyone I work with, but they are always greeted with a smile and sent away with a thank you.

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. ~ Proverbs 18:16

This post comes about because recently I was asked to sit in on a meeting with my boss and her directs (all attorneys for more than twenty years). The meeting was to brainstorm and develop a project she put me in charge of. When she announced to the others that I was going to sit in on the meeting, I felt that ripple of unease move through the group, even among the people who were calling in. There was a moment of silence. Then people started talking fast to make up for it. I’m not a threat to them, I don’t have their specialized training or credentials. However, calling me into such a meeting to participate said to me and others that our collective boss values and appreciates my opinion and my work. And that humbled me like no other work experience I’ve ever had.

I can guarantee you, had I entered my role with Bosslady with an attitude of what I will and won’t do and an inconsistent work ethic she wouldn’t have trusted me with this project and certainly wouldn’t have sat me at the table across from her.

I just want to encourage those of you who believe for more while holding what seems to be little. Do everything as you would unto the LORD your God (1 Cor. 10:31-33). Don’t shortchange anyone with your gifts and skills. Don’t hide your talent (Matt 25:14-30). Do your best in everything you do, even if you’re starting off with very little. Some people may not appreciate your best, but the ones who do will usually be in a position to help you to another level.

His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.  ~ Matthew 25:21 AMP

May you seek to partner with the Lord and be blessed in all your endeavors!