“But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money”
Once upon a time there was a candy tin re-purposed into a sewing box. Thread, a strawberry shaped pin cushion, needles, pins, a tape measure and some basic notions were my mother's supplies. The sewing box was also the repository of the good scissors.
Heavy, sharp stainless steel blades with glossy black handles, the good scissors were strictly for adults only and important matters. Consequently they spent most of their time hidden away for some future special event.
There was a measure of wisdom in this. Small children and sharp objects often end badly – for the children. Paper dulls scissor blades, a real problem for a seamstress. My mother, however, only sewed under duress. Saving the scissors for sewing projects was akin to drivers in India refusing to use their headlights because they'll eventually burn out and need replacing.
Relegated to the use of dull, rounded tipped kiddie scissors, projects like paper dolls were difficult. The good scissors would have made the task much easier. Childhood crafts were deemed unimportant, and prohibited the good scissors from being used for real purposes.
The Body of Christ, both individually and corporately, have versions of the good scissors. God given gifts to the Body are designated for mature believers. The same way sharp objects and children don't end well, God's gifts in the hands of inexperienced Christians gets messy. Leaving their operation to those more capable (whatever that means) seems prudent. Who is qualified to determine what the age of responsibility is and when one has attained it? If those new in the things of God have no where to practice under the watchful, loving tutelage of more mature believers, how will they ever learn?
Blame doesn't rest solely on the Body as a whole. Individuals have gladly abrogated their responsibility to those considered gifted and called. Like the good scissors safely tucked away for some special occasion, individuals place God's gifts on hold and out of sight. When the need arises, inexperience breeds hesitation – suppose I fail? To do nothing out of the fear of failure is worse than to make an attempt and have less than completely successful results.
Jesus talked about this in Matthew 25. The steward, driven by the fear of losing what was entrusted to him wasn't heralded as a hero on the Master's return. He was sharply rebuked for being unproductive. What little he had was taken from him and given to another. Ouch.
How about you. What has God given you that is receiving the good scissors treatment? How or where can you practice so you'll be ready when the big day comes? To you, what would constitute this special occasion? How would you describe being less than perfect at a task? What does it mean about you as a person? Are you willing to take small steps of faith at the risk you may fail? Your God-given good scissors accomplish nothing if they go unused.