Brad Trekell Guest Columnist
The Ada News
Ada — Do you ever wonder how much God expects out of you? I ponder that question at times, and I think the answer varies for everybody. I believe that the scriptures teach every Christian should be fruitful and every Christian should give their best effort in serving God.
Perhaps we may never really know exactly how fruitful God expects us to be but I think that if we sit back and examine our hearts and let God speak to us through His Word, then we can be convicted about if God would be pleased with our efforts.
Let me begin by making clear that we are not saved by our works, because God saves us through His grace if we have faith in Jesus as our sole source of salvation (no pun intended).
Nevertheless, works are a critical part of the Christian life and show God how faithful we really are. Ephesians 2:8-10 sums this up perfectly when it says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
So we have been created for good works in Christ, but it is not by these works that we receive salvation.
So what does it mean to be fruitful? The Bible talks about fruit extensively in Galatians 5:22-23, where the apostle Paul describes the “fruit of the Spirit,” or the natural fruit of a Christian's life.
He describes such things as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Fruit could also be described as using your talents to glorify God and spread the good news of Christ to others.
So let's look at the original question once more. How much does God expect out of you?
Jesus says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (Luke 12:48)
If you have been blessed with a lot of talent and ability and opportunities to glorify God and be fruitful, He will expect more out of you than someone who may not be as blessed. Yet, this does not diminish the responsibility of those who are less talented or blessed.
Jesus tells the story of a master who had to go away on a trip and he entrusted his servants with his money. He gave one servant five talents (one talent equaled about 15 years' wages of a laborer) of gold, one servant two talents of gold, and one servant one talent of gold, according to their ability to be fruitful with the money.
The servants with five talents of gold and two talents of gold each doubled that amount by the time their master arrived, but the servant that was given one talent of gold buried it in the ground. The master was furious with and condemned the unfruitful servant because he did not use his abilities to be fruitful. (Matthew 25:14-30)
God judges how we use our abilities in the same way. Regardless of how much talent or ability He has blessed us with, He expects each of us to use it to the utmost in order to bring glory to Him and be fruitful. So while the answer to our question may not be a tangible and quantifiable answer, it is clear that God expects our best efforts in His service, and nothing less will be pleasing to Him.
Brad Trekell is a 2013 graduate of NWOSU where he wrote a column for the Northwestern News. Comments or questions may be sent to Brad via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.