We've all been there.
We've all stood on a mountaintop in our lives at one time or another; whether it was after winning your 7th grade basketball championships, to buying your first home, to landing that job position you've been working so hard to get. It feels great! Nothing on earth can compare to the feeling that you get as you look out from the collective top-side of your talents, abilities, and passions. It's the feeling of success, accomplishment, self-worth, and satisfaction all rolled into one moment of epic victory. In my life, I find that it's usually in moments like these when two thoughts enter my mind simultaneously:
"This feels amazing!" and "I'm kind of freaking out because I have no idea where to go from here!"
Yup, nothing like feeling both adequate and inadequate all in the same moment. Awesome.
If you're like me, you immediately start praying to God for direction, for a greater capacity to do more, and for your next steps as you begin the hustle towards your next mountaintop again. Now I understand that there has been some "shade thrown" ("negative sentiment" for all you non-millennials) at the thought of "hustling" for your calling. How no amount of effort can ever make us good enough to earn God's favor blah, blah, blah. And while those sentiments are right in a cosmic sense, it doesn't merit laziness or working less either. Scripture has just as much to say about laziness and work as much as it does about God's unmerited favor. So, in my mountaintop moments, I find myself going back to the "Parable of the Talents" that Jesus spoke on in Matthew 25.14-30 and every time I do I gain new perspective concerning how God balances faithfulness and hustle.
- Faithfulness and obedience got you here and nothing less will get you to the next place.
While you may have the talents and the skills to pay the bills, know that no amount of talent can ever trump obedience in your life. When you're obedient to Christ you sacrifice for the call, and when you sacrifice for the call you empty yourself and make room for the Spirit's enablement to fill you. It's in the mountaintop moments of your life where you'll tell yourself that you have to change up how you're hustling to get to the next level. You will look at yourself instead of looking at your Master and will inevitably realize that you don't have what it takes to get there. The good news? God knows, and your continued and increased faithfulness and obedience will ensure that you make room for what God has to give.
- God rewards your faithfulness with responsibility.
Notice in the parable that the reward of the faithful servants weren't an all-expense paid vacation to a resort on the Red Sea or lifetime supply of spa days at the Dead Sea. Nope. Their reward was responsibility. Notice how Luke 19.11-27 says that as they were faithful with money God rewarded them with running CITIES! Now while it would feel pretty amazing to be the boss of 5-10 cities, that also comes with a greater need for stewardship, strategic thinking, and tons of humility. The stakes are higher and you are simply trusted by God at a higher level. Suddenly, the top has a lot more pressure to perform. Word of advice? Don't allow success to scare you from moving into God's best. Keep in mind that if God takes you there, He'll sustain you there, and your proper response is eager anticipation to be trusted and celebration that God thinks enough of you to trust you with greater responsibility. This is your mountaintop legacy: faithfulness, stewardship, humility.
- Double is ALWAYS within your personal capacity.
I love this. I love how in Matthew 25, faithfulness leads to a return of double. The servant who was faithful with 5 talents earned 5 back, and was suddenly responsible for 10 talents. God doubled his responsibility and as a result increased his capacity. How do I know? Because God will never set you up to fail if you trust Him and show it through your obedience. Know that as you stand right now, you are capable of double, and even though you feel like you can't take on more your ability to steward what you have will increase your capacity to make it happen. How does this happen? When you steward yourself well you find excess time and energy and you repurpose it for the Kingdom's advancement. Yes you may sacrifice hobbies, your daily 1.5 hour coffee break, and 2 hour social media scroll session, but when you repurpose that time, it shows God your ability to steward and gives you a greater perspective concerning what you're capable of doing.
So enjoy that mountaintop, breathe in the fresh air that few people get to breathe at that level, and then look up at the next imposing mountain that stands in front of you and take heart, because that mountain exists for the sole purpose of being conquered by you.