(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)
When my brother and I were 10 or 12 years old, our parents began entrusting much of our family’s lake resort business. It wasn’t as glamorous as that may sound. We dipped minnows, pumped gas, picked up trash over 10 acres, cleaned cabins (including kitchens and commodes) and hauled the garbage to a dumpster 3 miles away, sold tackle and groceries, rented the cabins and small boats, and made change for customers from 6 am to midnight in the sweltering heat of South Carolina.
Giving us so many responsibilities wasn’t all about needing us, though. There were times that my brother and I cost them money. We sometimes mistakenly under-quoted a price that the customers later used to haggle, or we missed a reservation or timely service that disgruntled the customer. After such incidents (which were rare, by the way), some even said they wouldn’t be back. And I don’t want to think about how many cold drinks, candy bars, microwave sandwiches and other groceries we ate when we pleased. Our “help” was not always cost-efficient for our family. I still have a vivid memory of a very expensive ski boat that one of our customers stored with us. I came very close to driving it into a cement picnic table. But that may be a story for another time.
Entrusting those duties to me and my brother was more about us needing responsibilities.
Our parents were preparing us to inherit the family business one day – if either of us decided that we wanted it. And, as much as we loathed most of the work (except pumping gas for the girls in the boats), we matured so much because of it.
Because I worked as a servant there in my teen-age and college years, I grew in my understanding of people and myself, and I realized what a self-centered, impatient and hypocritical person I was (and still am sometimes). But most importantly, by God’s incredible grace, He brought a retired minister to plant a church a few hundred yards from our business where I heard the gospel for the first time. In that church I saw God’s power to forgiven and change people from the inside-out. I saw Him living in my parents through their business practices and specific verbal witness about Jesus to many customers. I began to value service, sacrifice, teamwork, perseverance and more – all because they entrusted responsibilities to me, a framework that still impacts my service.
There’s a huge difference between entrusting and trusting, though. We can entrust others with important matters knowing that they will sometimes let us down. As I’ve already mentioned, my brother and I gave our parents many reasons not to trust us fully. In the same way, Jesus’ disciples gave Him many reasons not to trust them. In the three years that He walked with them, they failed Him more times than not. (John 2:24)
So why did the Lord Jesus entrust us with our spouses, our children, our friends, our jobs or anything at all? He could do all of it better than we can. But His goal is not simply the end result of the task. It’s also our growth along the way: He’s preparing us to inherit His Kingdom before the watching world for His glory and our joy in Him. (Deuteronomy 11:24-32, Joshua 1:1-9, Ezekiel 5:5, Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Peter 2:9-12, Revelation 1:4-8 and the letters to the seven churches that follow)
Deuteronomy 8 and 1 Timothy 6 are especially clear on God’s purpose for entrusting us with responsibilities and goods. They are for the growth of our faith, thanksgiving, holiness, shared love for others and every other aspect of godliness. Of course, we’ll never be deserving or even mostly “ready” to pass on into God’s paradise. Even His gift of heaven and the new earth is by grace (Revelation 21-22).
But what about until then?
What has He entrusted to you right now that seems too big? Every moment of that is an opportunity to humble yourself and seek Him, to relearn His commitment to you by His grace, to refocus on His goals of the heart – not necessarily our goals of reputation, personal comfort or even religious accomplishments.
He has entrusted you with everything in our lives so we will entrust our everything in our lives to Him – including and especially our hearts.