Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On being a Sloth

I am not sure if this is an endearing quality or not, probably not after sixteen or seventeen years, but my husband has a tendency to repeat a story, telling it as if he hasn’t already told me. I used to interrupt and provide the ending, but now I listen as he tells me (for the umpteenth time). He gets so much delight in the telling, and I don’t want to spoil that!

Perhaps I am slowly turning into my husband, but I am also repeating stories! This morning I was reading an e-zine, an on line magazine written by Christian ladies. One of the articles that caught my interest was one in a series about the seven deadly sins, not in this case Celtic football clubs back line of defenders!) Today was the turn of sloth.

The emphasis of the article wasn’t about pure laziness or anything, but how it related to our walk of faith. Wikipedia defines sloth as “spiritual or emotional apathy, neglecting what God has spoken, and being physically and emotionally inactive”. The lady who wrote the article defined it as “the failure to utilize ones talents and gifts”. I am not even going to pretend that I can make the excuse that I don’t know what my talents and gifts are. I don’t always put myself in an environment where I can put them to use. Our church is involved in a coffee shop/chat/fellowship event called “Catalyst”, so I headed down to see if there was something I could contribute.

I am not at my most comfortable talking to people I don’t know, but that wasn’t required of me. I fell into conversation with a lady I met there before. After half an hour or so, we stopped talking and my friend looked at me and said, “We’ve had this conversation before!”

How many months ago? Two, possibly three months the conversation had turned to gift and talents, and the things that we could be doing to utilize them. Neither of us are “utilizers”. We know what the gifts are, and can see areas where we can put those gifts into action. But, sadly, that’s where it all stops…at the planning stage. Part of it is that we are not entirely convinced that we can do what we think we can do. What if it all goes belly-up and we are left with egg on our faces?

I was reading about faith this morning – Hebrews 11 faith – that marvellous line up of faith heroes (and heroines!). “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We may heave learned the verse off by heart, but I living it is a little more challenging. There are no foolproof guarantees that the things we could be doing to utilize our gifts and talents will not go belly-up. But there again, we won’t know until we try it.

I think we both tried to take another step forward – to make ourselves accountable to each other to take that next step. We didn’t really succeed. Neither of us would just say to the other “Let’s go for it and see what happens!” I guess that makes the two of us sloths.

Catalysts cause changes to happen. I rather think this conversation has caused a tiny change in me to happen. I don’t want to be a sloth. I desperately want to utilize the gifts and talents I have. I want to do that much more that I want to avoid egg on my face! We are stepping forward…just a millimetre!

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