Just Two Things

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It's so easy to overcomplicate the Christian life. This eye-opening article offers just two things that comprise your purpose in life. (Esther 4:14) https://adivineencounter.com/just-two-things

Inhale.

Exhale.

Just two things.

Amidst the innumerable choices we make every day…

the successes and stumbles…

the routine and the miraculous…

the monotonous and the extraordinary…

the to-dos, should-dos, and ought-tos…

the pressures and needs…

investments and opportunities…

only two things really matter.

Can you do just two things?

I think we can.

And I sort of think we overcomplicate Christ-following when we make it about anything else.

Because when it comes right down to it,

we’re accountable for just two things.

Inhaling divine relationship…

and exhaling faithful stewardship.

Those two broad brushstrokes are all we need to cover our life’s canvas with fulfillment and fruitfulness.

There is nothing in this life that falls outside of those two categories.

The foundation of my life…

my very reason for existence…

is the divine relationship.

Enjoying fellowship with my God.

The One who created me for that purpose.

The One who redeemed me for that purpose.

The One who sanctifies me for that purpose.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Because if it did, why am I still here? Once I entered into the divine relationship, why wasn’t I whisked away to heaven to enjoy Him face-to-face, away from the trials of this fallen planet called Earth?

It’s because God isn’t finished writing His-story yet. And He still has a role for me (and you). God-given roles will always be accomplished with God-given resources. And so the divine relationship is the impetus behind faithful stewardship of those resources.

I have a dear friend who often speaks of her life’s decisions in terms of stewardship. She talks of wanting to be a good steward of her time…of her resources…of her skills…of her children. When I first noticed this about her, the idea was somewhat foreign to me. To this day, she is one of a very few people I know who makes stewardship a regular part of her vocabulary and an integral part of her Christ-following lifestyle.

Friends, this ought not be so.

If divine relationship is why you and I exist, faithful stewardship is why we’re living where we are, when we are. It’s the idea behind Mordecai’s famous conversation with Esther:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Mordecai was urging Esther to be a faithful steward of her position, her opportunities, her resources, her relationships. He was pointing out to her the divine origin of those blessings, and her responsibility to use those resources wisely in fulfilling God’s call on her life.

We typically think of stewardship in very narrow terms, don’t we?

Money.

But stewardship is about so much more than just money.

It's so easy to overcomplicate the Christian life. This eye-opening article offers just two things that comprise your purpose in life. (Esther 4:14) https://adivineencounter.com/just-two-things

Stewardship is about being a faithful manager of blessings.

Health.

Relationships.

Education.

Talents.

Experiences.

God’s Word.

Family.

Time.

Trials.

Finances.

Wisdom.

Freedom.

Energy.

Home.

Employment.

Jesus teaches a parable in Matthew 25 about stewardship, and indicates that a faithful steward is one who receives blessings and invests them wisely, thereby multiplying them. We learn some valuable lessons from this parable:

God grants blessings as He sees fit. The servants were entrusted with different amounts of money, “to each according to his ability” (v. 15). It’s not my job to compare my blessings with someone else’s, growing envious toward those who have more. And you know what? I don’t even think I’m supposed to feel guilty when I see others with less. My role is to trust in the infinite wisdom of my Master, and be faithful with what He gives me, no matter how much or how little.

The blessings we’re granted aren’t primarily for our own enjoyment.  God is the master in this parable, who entrusts his servants with his property until the time of his return. The property always belongs to the master.

In much the same way, God entrusts us with blessings for a season and for a purpose. It’s easy to have a mindset of entitlement during this era of hyper-awareness of our “rights.” Our rights are certainly important, politically speaking; but bearing an entitlement mentality is damaging for a Christ-follower. Because the truth is, every blessing we enjoy is a completely undeserved gift of grace, granted so that our Master can enjoy the fruit of that which He has entrusted to us.

God expects a generous return based on what He grants. One servant earned five talents for his master, while another earned only two — less than half of what the first servant earned. But both received the same accolades from their master upon his return: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (verses 21 and 23). This is because they were both faithful with what they were given. God doesn’t hold us accountable for what we’re given — that’s up to Him, remember? Our role is to invest wisely whatever we’re given; if we do, we can be certain that our Master will be pleased upon His return.

So how do we invest wisely?

Guess what?

God doesn’t want it to be a secret. That’s why the divine relationship is so crucial — it’s impossible to be a faithful steward without one. Because the paintbrush of faithful stewardship can be dipped into a million shades on any particular day for any particular person.

No one can tell you what God wants you to do with your particular God-granted skills, personality, resources, background, opportunities, circumstances and relationships other than God Himself.

Get to know God. Find out what’s important to Him. What makes Him happy? What breaks His heart? What causes does He hold most dear?

Spend time talking to God. Ask Him what He wants you to do.

And then do it.

Let’s stop overthinking it and overcomplicating it, and instead just be faithful with what He’s given us, for such a time as this.

It's so easy to overcomplicate the Christian life. This eye-opening article offers just two things that comprise your purpose in life. (Esther 4:14) https://adivineencounter.com/just-two-things

 

Written by Jennifer Clarke

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12 Replies to “Just Two Things”

  1. Sinka

    Thank you so much for writing about this. For one thing, I have been doing a Precept study about money and possessions over the past few months and this dovetails so perfectly with it and takes it beyond finances and enters the realm of ALL THINGS that God has given us. So poignant and important. It’s the bigger picture. And you’re so right that all we need to do is get to know God (through his word) and seek His council (through prayer). We have to look beyond our ‘self’ and see Him.

    On another tangent, it hit me the other day that I wasn’t showing selflessness nearly enough in my marriage. Then your list of blessings made it clear: the bigger idea is that I’m not managing the blessing of relationship and marriage that he’s given me. Thank you! This helps (your posts always help). I will continue to seek His council.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hi, Sinka! So good to hear from you again. 🙂 I’m glad God used this post to reinforce some things He has been teaching you. This perspective of “just two things” has been extremely powerful for me. It has clarified why I’m habitually mis-handling some things in my life. But it has also provided a lot of peace. There was a day recently when I spent the entire day caring for some rather intense and unexpected issues in my household, which required me to leave my “to-do” list untouched all day long. That’s unusual for me, and not a good feeling! But at the end of the day, I could rest easy knowing that, considering the day’s circumstances, I had been a faithful steward in God’s eyes, regardless of the lack of check-marks on my lists. Thank you for reading, and for sharing such relevant truths from your own life! Blessings to you as you follow hard after Him.

      Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hello, Grace! Thank you for your kind words, and for identifying with me in this thing called blogging! 🙂 May God bless you and expand your territory as you write for His glory, friend.

      Reply
  2. Kimberly

    I was awake early recently and just kind of prayerfully thinking and listening, and I felt the words impressed on my heart “Breathe in the Holy Spirit; breathe out Love.” Then later I came across this article on Pinterest and I immediately caught onto your “inhale – exhale” analogy. Tuning into the Spirit is focusing on the divine relationship, and living out His Love is showing faithful stewardship! Such a simple and beautiful picture. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Exactly, Kimberly! I truly thank you for sharing about what God has shown you. It is simple, isn’t it? May we revel in its simplicity even as we stand in awe of its beauty…and walk faithfully in its truth. Blessings to you!

      Reply
  3. Deb Wolf

    Thanks so much for linking this at Counting My Blessings! I love it! Inhale and exhale. My husband is a pastor on staff at our Seminary. His career has been in both parish and financial stewardship. But we both talk often about our calling to be good stewards of everything. Excellent word!

    Reply
  4. Julie

    Written with such a beautiful faith! I especially like this – “Our role is to invest wisely whatever we’re given.” Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  5. Tracy

    I’m so thankful for coming across your blog. I can’t help but to think it was Gods will. The past six months have been the hardest I’ve ever experienced. About a year and half ago I was the closest I’ve ever been in my faith and with The Lord. It was the happiest most wonderful feeling of peace and content, feeling full of hope, love and what my future held. I could feel the Holy Spirit within me it was the most incredible feeling Id ever felt. It made me feel like anything was possible b/c it is through Go. That nothing could waiver me from my faith or my path to true happiness. I could go on & on but I hope you understand what I’m saying. Somewhere along the way I lost it. I knew I had but was certain how to get it back and my life had changed tremendously. I was surrounded by negativity constantly and I am still to this very day. I’ve become a very lost lonely, scared, depressed, unhappy soul. I feel like I’m spiraling out of control. On March 27th, 2015 is when my life changed forever. That’s the day I lost my daddy completely unexpectedly and out of the blue. If that wasn’t hard enough his then girlfriend/companion was making the process of grieving & making funeral arrangements horrible at every turn and was being nothing short of hateful in every way possible to myself, brother & mother. The anger & hatred Im sorry to say I feel towards that woman then and still today indescribable. I can’t say if I were to see her today that I won’t try to harm or hurt this woman as she did me & my family durning the hardest time of a persons life. Durning this time I’m was trying my hardest to rely on my faith to see me through. I never felt so empty if that makes sense & lonely. I was craving and begging to be fulfilled like I once I had. I still feel this way today. It seems that sense that horrible and unforgettable day my life has been full of nothing but heartache and pain one after the other. A lot has happened a lot. I’m so overwhelmed w/ emotion I do not know what to do anymore. I’ve yet to really except and grieve the loss of my daddy b/c of things that happened following him passing away up till today. I try to b happy and I can’t seem to be. I know I’m very blessed and very thankful for that. I know my life isn’t anything compared to some peoples lives and I try and remind myself that daily. I’ve gone to church a few times and love going to church love it. I’m the happiest and at peace while there and feel reenergized with faith, hope and love when leaving but that goes away very shortly if not immediately upon returning to my home. Where things r out of control, toxic and beyond stressful. I keep telling myself I’m going to church but something crazy happens which is my everyday life it feels sometimes or I just do not follow through. I’m in desperate need of guidance to find my way out of this incredible dark. Lonely, depressed hole I find myself in. I’d b so greatly for any suggestions words of wisdom or help anyone could offer me. There still a lot I haven’t said or explained for yall to understand but will in a more controlled private setting. My phone number is 251-442-8426, I have a FB page, email garricktracy@gmail.com or on here if anyone would like to contact me or share some words or guidance. Thank you

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Bless you, Tracy. My heart aches for you, and for the loss you’ve experienced. It sounds as though the “joy of the Lord” was at one time very strong and vibrant in your life. Your enemy, Satan, didn’t like that one bit, and has taken advantage of your hardships in order to steal your joy and replace it with despair. I’m so very sorry for your pain, and I want you to know that I will pray that your joy and your faith will be restored.

      I feel like I need to gently nudge your heart with this Scripture: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). It sounds like your dad’s girlfriend has sinned against you grievously, and has done so during what was already a tremendously painful time. I can’t even imagine what that was like. But allowing bitterness and unforgiveness to consume you is not hurting her; it’s hurting you.

      The verse in Ephesians tells us that we ought to forgive others in the same way God has forgiven us. You sound like a wonderful person, Tracy, so you might be thinking, “I’ve never done anything even half as terrible as what she has done to me!” And that may be true, if you’re comparing your sins to hers. But God’s forgiveness for you and me is limitless. His mercies are new every morning. You and I have been forgiven lavishly, and God wants us to extend forgiveness to others as a way to acknowledge how much we’ve received from Him.

      You might find this post helpful, too.

      Please prayerfully consider my words, and know that they’re offered from a humble heart of love, and a sincere desire to see you thrive in your relationship with God. Bitterness is a poison, and you cannot grow in Christ while you harbor it in your heart. You’ll never get your joy back as long as you hold so tightly to unforgiveness. Will you ask God to help you forgive her, and to help you trust Him to exercise justice on your behalf?

      I also want to encourage you that your desire to be in church is good and right. Make it a priority, and don’t let anything interfere. I would also suggest that you find a way to get involved in service to others, either at church or in your community. I’m always amazed by how much my spirits are lifted when my gaze is drawn back to my Savior (at church, for example), and my hands are busy in serving others.

      Will you also find someone to share your heart with, face-to-face? Perhaps your pastor or his wife, or a Christian counselor, or a godly friend. We aren’t meant to carry our burdens alone. God invites us to cast them on Him in prayer (I Peter 5:7), and he intends for other believers to help us, too (Galatians 6:2).

      Here are some Scriptures to encourage your heart: Psalm 56, Psalm 118, Psalm 27, Psalm 147. Please know of my fervent prayers for you!

      Reply

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