THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

October 28, 2009

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Jon and I are once again preparing for another trip to Singapore. Last time we went, they were not ready for Jon to do the testing he needed to do, so work-wise it was pretty much a wasted trip. It was enjoyable for the two of us as far as sight-seeing, but the real purpose of the trip wasn't fulfilled. Hopefully, Jon will be able to accomplish all that's needed of him and we won't have to go back. We did enjoy the traveling, but if we're going to travel internationally, we'd rather go to a destination we haven't been to before. I guess we have the "been there, done that" mentality. Also, if this trip were another few months down the road it would be a little more exciting, but we've only been home about a month now. We're looking forward to the warm weather in Singapore, but dreading the long, long flights! But I know that we'll have a great time after we get there.

As we did last time, we're trying to get everything ready and in order for our trip. I'm working on newsletters for the next couple weeks so that Jon will be able to publish them while we're in Singapore. I have a list started and am adding to it as I think of things we need to get done before leaving, and things we need to be sure and pack. Reservations are made, and Jon is trying to wrap up loose ends at work before being gone for two weeks. There are a lot of details that go into preparing for a trip; especially one of this magnitude. I try to take care of all the household and packing duties, and Jon takes care of work related issues and the packing of all the tools and supplies he will need to take with him for the job.

We also have to rely on other people to help out. Jon's parents are kind enough to meet us at the airport and babysit our car for us while we're gone, which saves money on airport parking. My nephew helps out by doing various duties for us while we're gone. We are very appreciative of their willingness to step in and give us the aid that we need.

We also have a brand new privacy fence to look forward to coming home to, that will be install around our backyard while we're gone. We are very excited about that!

In Matthew chapter 25:14-30 we read a story about a man who went on a long journey to a far away country. Before he left, he called his servants together and delivered his good to them. He gave one of the servants five talents; to another servant he gave two talents; and to another he gave one talent. He gave them out according to their own ability.

After he left, the one who had the five talents went out and traded with them and made an additional five. The one who had two talents went out and gained two more. But the servant who had the one talent went out and buried it in the ground, and hid his master's money.

After a long time the lord of those servants arrived back home and settled accounts with him.

The one with the five talents came and showed that he had doubled the money that had been entrusted to him. His lord said to him, "Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things. I will made you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."

Likewise the same thing happened when the servant with the two talents came before his lord and showed that he had doubled the money. He received the same response as the first servant.

But when the servant with the one talent came before his lord he said, "Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours."

His lord answered, "You wicked and lazy servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not sown seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents."

I remember as a kid hearing ministers preach from this passage of scripture, and thinking that the lord was unfair and a harsh taskmaster. I was unable to comprehend the trust that this man was putting in his servants to care for his money while he was out of the country. I didn't understand that these servants all had a responsibility to their master.

It was only as I became an adult and had possessions of my own that I began to see the picture. When I was single, I worked hard and cut corners in order to own my own mobile home and car. I knew the hard work and saving and doing without "extras" it had taken for me to be able to purchase those things, and I was diligent in their upkeep and care. When I went out of town on vacation, I didn't entrust the care of those things to just anyone. But I asked people I trusted to keep an eye on my home. If I flew to my destination (usually to see one of my sisters), I left my car with someone that would care for it.

Jon and I take the same care with our vehicles and home when we need to be gone. We want to know that we can rely on those we ask to watch over our car and home. We ask those who have proven that they are trustworthy.

The lord in this story may have worked many years to accumulate his wealth, and knew the funds that were needed in order to maintain his home and property. He knew the effort and long hours of toil that it had taken to get his property or business to the point of being profitable. He didn't want to lose it all during the time that he had to be gone on his journey out of the country. So according to his servants' abilities, he entrusted his money into their care.

The first two servants not only cared for the money given them, but they both doubled it. When the master returned home, he was pleased and they were both well rewarded. For the period of time that their lord was gone, they had shown that they were faithful over a few things. Therefore, they were made ruler over many things. Their lord was joyful and they were bid to enter into that joy.

But when the third servant made excuses for burying the one talent that was given into his care, his master was extremely displeased. The servant tried to put it on the masters head that the reason he hadn't done anything with the money was because he knew that his lord was a hard man. He didn't want to take any responsibility for his laziness or lack of motivation.

The response he received was that he was a wicked and lazy servant. The one talent that he had been given was taken away and given to the servant who had the most. The lord didn't even expect him to go out and trade like the servant with the five talents did. He wasn't even required to go out and work in order to double his funds. All he had to do was walk down to the bank and deposit it so that it would draw interest. That wouldn't have required much effort.

These scriptures are used as a parable about the use of the talents and abilities that God has entrusted to each of us. We mistakenly classify talents and abilities as singing, playing an instrument, preaching, teaching a class, etc. And God does entrust those talents to individuals. But each and every one of us has been given some type of talent. We each have been entrusted with a God given ability. It doesn't have to be something that is necessarily used within a church. It can be talents that are business related. It can be the ability to encourage and uplift others. It may be organizational skills. There is such a vast scope of talents and abilities that God gives.

When Jon and I were coming back from Singapore, we had to go through security in San Francisco. There was an airport worker that was standing at a podium checking passports and airline tickets before we got to the actual place where our carryon luggage was scanned. He was an older gentleman and was one of the most positive men I've ever heard. I would think that would be a boring job standing there doing the same thing over and over all day long. My feet would eventually be hurting and I'd get tired of having to tell people to put their food away or show me the right documents or whatever.

As we were standing in line I could hear him speaking to the various passengers. I told Jon that I bet the man had taken a class on positive affirmation; which was a big thing a few years ago. He had something positive to say to every single person. It was, "You have a very nice smile" or "I really like your name" or "I like your hair" or "You have a nice passport photo", etc. Honestly, I'd get tired of trying to think of something nice to say about each person! And there are some folk that I would really struggle with finding something nice to say about them.

I saw another man standing in line listening to him and he was smiling. He may have been wondering what the gentlemen was going to say about some of the people in line. But that one comment may be the only nice thing some of those people hear all day. That may be the one thing that brings a smile to their face or may just make their day. I was thinking that the man had to have been a christian to be that nice and think of so many good things to say all day long! But his talent may be to be an encourager. If so, he was definitely using it!

May each of us use the talents and abilities that God entrusts to us. Whatever they may be, whether big or small, may we use them to the best of our abilities. We may not all have five talents and the know-how to go trade and double what we have. But if we start out using the one we do have by stepping out in faith and putting it where it can draw interest, then we will begin to see our talents multiply.

None of us want to stand before God and have him call us a wicked and lazy servant. But the words we desire to hear is, "Well done my good and faithful servant!"

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I've wished many times that I had a talent for doubling my money. The only way I seem to double money is to fold it over. But that doesn't really seem to help.

I think it's common for people to focus so heavily on other peoples' abilities that we don't even realize the ones we have. I've known several people who were so wrapped up in other peoples talent for singing that they wasted much of their time trying to sing well, too. But, sadly, some of them were just painful to listen to. I may not be blessed with a talent for singing, but I thank God that I know and accept that. Loretta does have a great talent for singing. So, I can just sit back and enjoy her musical talent while I sing as quietly as I can.

Fortunately, we go very well together. For example, she has a great talent for writing this devotional. And I publish it.

ON THE MENEWE:

Southwestern Crock-Pot Roast and Beans

1 1/2 to 2 lb. Chuck Roast

1 pkg. Chili Seasoning

2 cups uncooked (presoaked) Pinto Beans

2 cans RoTel Diced Tomatoes

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 soup can of water

Cover pinto beans with water and soak overnight. Drain and wash. Rub roast with chili seasoning. Place roast in crock-pot. Pour uncooked beans, mushroom soup and 1/2 can of water over the top. Beans will cook in the roast's juices.

Cook on high for 7-8 hours or until roast shreds easily. Shred the meat with a fork and stir all ingredients together. Serve in a bowl or on warm tortillas garnished with grated cheese, sour cream or picante sauce.

LAMB TALES:

I babysit my great-nephew, Jax, three mornings a week. He is now 6 months old. Generally, I arrive at their house around 8:15 AM and Jax is ready for a bottle soon thereafter. Then shortly after eating, he takes a morning nap. Recently, I was feeding him and he was so sleepy. His eyes would hardly stay open and he kept rubbing them. But after he finished eating, he would not go to sleep! I tried everything I could think of. I rocked him, sung to him, walked the floor with him, laid him in his crib, etc. I could tell that he was fighting his sleep. He did not take a nap all morning long! He kind of dozed off once, so I laid him down in his crib. He woke up and started fussing. I thought perhaps if I left him, he would fall back asleep. Well, he eventually started crying and was throwing a little temper tantrum. I let him lay in there maybe 15-20 minutes. His mom and dad are trying to get him to fall asleep in his crib and let him cry himself to sleep, when he will. I took it as long as I could, then went in and picked him up. I was rocking him and finally got him calmed down. He was sitting on my lap, leaned up against me and I had a blanket wrapped around him. After he stopped crying, he sat there for probably a good 15 minutes sniveling. It was so pitiful! He acted like I'd absolutely broke his heart and he just couldn't get completely consoled. What made it worse is that he is crying real tears now and he had a little tear running out of the corner of his eye. I really felt kind of bad, but he was so pitiful acting that it was kind of funny, too. That little guy knows just how to get to his Aunt Loretta's heartstrings!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

When life knocks you to your knees, you're in the perfect position to pray.

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We hope everyone is having a wonderful fall season.

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org