"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Is Fear Your Master?


"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' – Matthew 25:21 NIV



As a little girl, I daydreamed a lot and tended to dawdle. In first grade, my teacher saw some artistic talent in me, and gave me an assignment to paint a poster-sized picture. Every day I spent part of my recess time staying inside and working on it.

I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so the progress became painstakingly slow. One day my teacher came in to see how much I’d accomplished and exclaimed, “This is how much you’ve got done?”

I can still remember how hot my face felt. I can see the disappointment in her eyes. I thought I’d done well, but realized at that moment how slowly I had worked. She wanted to cultivate my talent for drawing, and agreed to let me continue, but begged me to “pick up the pace.”

Fear played a part in my perfectionism. I wanted to do it right so badly, I agonized over every stroke of the paintbrush. That wise teacher helped me to see the bigger picture – both realistically and figuratively.

In Matthew 25, we read a parable Jesus told of a man going on a journey. He entrusted his property to his servants. The man who received five talents gained five. The one with two doubled them to four talents. But the man with one talent dug a hole and hid the master’s money.

When the master returned, he praised the first two servants. But the third man received harsh punishment because he didn’t do as his master wished.

And why didn’t he? Fear. “'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' – Matthew 25:24-25 NIV.

Perhaps fear is keeping you from ministering in some way. Maybe you’re like me, always reaching for perfectionism. There is only One Who is perfect, and God uses plain, ordinary, flawed people like you and me. As our Master, God loves us and uses us by the power of the Holy Spirit to do His work on earth. My desire is to hear Him say at the end of my life’s journey, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

The following is a prayer I penned concerning writing, but whatever your ministry is, I pray it will be blessed abundantly. Step out in faith today. What do you want to do as a ministry for the Lord? What's stopping you?


Writer’s Prayer

As I sit down with pen and paper today
I pray, O Lord, for the words to say.
Bless my thoughts. May they be directed by You.
Whatever I write, may it be uplifting and true
To Your Word, to Your Character, to Your Spirit, I pray.

May the words I write challenge the reader to praise
Your Name above all Names - my hands I raise.
Whether it’s a poem, prose, or a worship song
Or a love story like the Song of Solomon,
Help me tell of Your love in glorious ways.

May the story of your grace and mercy cause reflection.
I pray as I write your Spirit gives direction.
No matter the story
I’ll give You the glory
For You alone are the Author of perfection.

© Donna Shepherd 2003

10 comments:

Deborah said...

Thanks, Donna. I enjoy your devotionals. You do a good job of taking a little story, applying concrete, telling details, then applying a wonderful spiritual lesson. Thanks for helping me kick start my spiritual life this morning.

Dorothy said...

Donna, I enjoyed your devotional. Do you mind if I copy your prayer and post it on my computer. I believe I need to read it every day before I begin to write.

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Deborah, you don't know how encouraging your words were today.

Dorothy, I'm blessed you want to use my writing in that way. Please do and thanks for asking!

Donna

Anonymous said...

Donna:
Beautiful and powerful message! May the Lord continue to use you is my fervent prayer.

Songbird

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way when someone asks me to sing, I try to give glory to the Lord, but I am constantly questioning if I am worthy to sing the words.

PonyTail

Anonymous said...

Donna

Your devotional today touched me in so many different ways. First it reminded me of yesterday when a young woman came to our church, offered her help preparing coffee, and then told me she had never been to church before. At the first opportunity I pulled our assistant pastor aside and told him. He gave me a funny look, not understanding my meaning. Was I poking fun or gossiping? No. I could relate to this young woman in many ways but I lacked the confidence and the right words to make her "see". You see she is homeless and was not seeking God, but rather temporary shelter. I was filled with fear that I couldn't handle this important job for my Savior. After the service I gave her a small amount of money and she thanked me and told me she would be back. I hope that is true. I am praying for this young lady and asking God to help me know the right words at the right time.

Second: My husband is obsessive/compulsive. As you pointed out, it takes him forever to get a job done. It also means he doesn't trust others to do the job "right". This trait drives me nuts. You made me realize this is his fear that his work won't be good enough. I wish I could get him into counciling but he is resistant. Donna, do you have any suggestions, perhaps scripture to help him relax?

Shari

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Hi, Shari. I did find this website with a lot of good Bible scriptures which have to do with overcoming anxiety. Perhaps if you and your husband could try memorizing a verse every few days, the Words of God could act as a healing balm for the mind.

Holistic Online*I'm not promoting this site, but this one page did have a good listing of verses.

Hope that's helpful!

Donna J. Shepherd said...

I seem to be working my way backwards through your post, Shari. *g*

I think it's wonderful your heart is tender towards that young woman. I pray, too, that you'll be able to minister to her in a real, authentic, "God with skin on" kind of way.

Donna

BHGA said...

I enjoyed your post Donna and your poem. It is encouraging to know that we all have that little bit of fear inside us...It took me forever to share anything that I wrote and I still seem to be unsure of the words I pen at times. I always pray they bless those that read them, ultimately bringing glory to God. God Bless you.

Donna B.

Broken Messenger said...

Perhaps fear is keeping you from ministering in some way. Maybe you’re like me, always reaching for perfectionism. There is only One Who is perfect, and God uses plain, ordinary, flawed people like you and me.

A struggle at times for me, I admit. But as John warns so we should heed and pray over: "There is no fear in love, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:20 (if I remember correctly)

Brad

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