I think we can all agree, there are lots of things to distract and pull our attention these days. Texts, emails, TEAMS chats, unexpected work meetings, and all of those pesky app notifications can make a quiet day turn noisy really quick! If not managed, those little distractions will suck up your time and energy, and pull you from the important work of the day. This is just one reason why so many feel burnt out from technology and unable to make progress on their work or projects. I'm learning that to get my projects and work done, I often need to block distractions before they begin. I need to be proactive with my time rather than reactive to the time and needs of others. Or as a friend recently told me, "pretend you're in 1980 and let everyone wait for you to check your answering machine!"
Distraction is nothing new under the sun. I wonder if the servants who multipled talents had to navigate distractions as well. In the parable of the talents, a master gives talents to three of his servants. Two of these servants took those talents and brought multiplication. One servant took his talents and buried it in the ground. The ones who multipled their talents, were rewarded and given more to work with. The one who hid his talents, was given nothing and his talents were taken away.
To steward their talents, I imagine these servants had to be proactive with their time. Maybe they even had to say ”no” to some things.
No, to distraction.
No, to managing other people’s talents.
No, scrolling on Facebook for hours.
No, to unhealthy habits or relationships.
No, to things that drained their resources.
No, to things that didn't align with their purpose and assignments.
They had to use their discernment, wisdom, and knowledge to know what to give their attention to and what to turn away from. They had to understand that these talents belonged to their master, so they couldn’t just give it away freely. They would be accountable to him when he returned.
In the context of today, this might look like decling an opportunity, not giving someone your time, or putting parameters around how you can help others. I know as women we want to help everyone and say yes to every opportunity that comes our way, but I'd venture to say that's a little Martha-like and maybe we're called to be diligent like the servants with talents. You were probably expecting me to say "we're called to be like Mary, and sit at the feet of Jesus!" We too often hear of the Mary and Martha contrast, but not many stop to remind us that Mary and Martha were on a spectrum. We cannot operate all day, every day on either side of that spectrum. We need both to work and worship. If you fail to do one, the other will suffer. Our work should be a direct reflection of our worship and our worship should include thanking God and asking for wisdom in how to manage our work.
God has entrusted us with time, resources, and talents. Our jobs, resources, gifts, education, or businesses are some of the talents God has entrusted us with.
The parable of the talents doesn’t tell us how long the master was gone or the timeframe the servants were given. It does say the master was away for a “long time.” This tells me that God doesn’t expect us to grow and multiply overnight, in a month, or even year. God gives us the grace of time to work diligently and to grow what He has given us. No matter what people on the internet tell you, nothing grows overnight. You need to be consistent with your talents over time, not just a couple of times. So, if you're feeling like "it's taking too long", my guess would be that you're right on time...just keep worshipping and keep working.
What area do you need to focus on today: work, worship, or talents? Do you need to sit with the Lord or do you need to work on multiplying your talents? I'd suggest turning off your phone notifications, spending time in worship, and asking the Lord for direction with your talents. He promises to give us wisdom if we ask.