Have you ever looked around your classroom or your workplace and noticed that only a small percentage of the people seem to be doing all the work? Have you ever noticed that an even smaller percentage of the people do a lot of work and never get credit or acknowledgement? Have you also noticed that it is the tiniest percentage of people that do all that work, seem to get no reward, yet never complain and never get bitter. If you have noticed these people then you have spotted those with a true Christian attitude toward what they are doing. When we hear the expression, ‘bearing one’s cross,’ we often think of the image of someone suffering for Christ. We may think of a person overcoming a difficult tribulation such as the illness of a loved one or the loss of a job. We may also think of someone being persecuted for being a Christian. While all of these situations may be forms of bearing one’s cross, there is a much simpler, subtler and more frequent form that it takes and it concerns the gifts that God has given us.
God has given us many gifts and unique talents. Our burden, and it ought to be a joyous one, is that we are required to utilize these talents and gifts. We are not supposed to let these talents go to waste. The fig tree must bear fruit or else of what use is it. However, we’re not talking about fruit trees right now. We’re talking about situations at school and at work.
At school it often happens during group work. There always seems to be one person who gets all the work dumped on him. This person is chosen leader and the rest decide to be followers. They are primarily interested in getting a free ride. The leader was chosen because he had previously shown his talents by actually using them. The result for him is that the others lean on him with great expectations. What have they gained by doing so? True, they may get the same good grade on the assignment as their leader, but they have not pleased God because they have not made use of their own talents. The leader however, has used those talents and God is pleased with him.
At work it is a similar story. There are always one or two people who seem to get all the work dumped on them. These people are the organizers, planners, visionaries, the peacemakers, worker bees etc. In short, they are the ‘doers’ and the leaders. Many others seem to be just loafers. Why is it that this happens? Simply, the leaders have become the leaders because they have put their talents into action. Their human reward is that they will be asked to do even more work, be given even more responsibility and have even higher expectations set for them. This hardly seems fair in light of the fact that so many others seem to be getting away with doing do little. However, the true heavenly reward is that those who use their talents will not be pruned out of God’s garden for not having borne fruit.
Christ is the only true One who has borne the cross. He did this as a result of each and every one of us dumping our sin on Him. When we are asked to do more because of the talents that He has given us, we should never see that as a burden. Rather, we should see this as our reward. This price that we pay for being good Christians is actually the reward that we receive. The reward is that we are living and giving members in the body of Christ.