We Blame Monday

Why do we put so much pressure on Mondays? We say, “I’m going to start this or that.” “On Monday I’m ready to go!” “On Monday…”

Then Monday comes.
Life.
Death.
Emergencies.
Stress.
Work pitch-in.
After work drinks and bar food.
Frustrating co-workers or bosses.

We tend to say how terrible Mondays are but really, it’s not Monday that’s terrible. It’s the constant cycle of having such good intentions and assuming we’ll find success or joy.

That’s not how life works. We can’t just show up and expect success or joy to magically happen. But that’s how we approach so many things in life—show up and this better work right now, forever and ever, simply because I showed up.

I’d wager most of us start every day with good intentions. We wake up, expecting the best, and then something happens and we end up acting the same way we do every other day.

And we blame Monday.

When we think of ultimate success on display, we can look to the Olympics. When we watch those athletes we see nothing but extreme greatness on display.

What we don’t see or don’t fully grasp when watching is that Olympic athletes, while gifted, there’s only so far their gift can take them. They have to put in a lot of consistent effort. Notice I didn’t say they show up and success happens. No, every single day they put in the effort to become flawless by focusing on the basics of their sport and nutrition. Disciplined to complete what might be a boring process day in and day out, but knowing the end game is worth the time and effort now.

Another example, but opposite not so far off from the Olympic athlete is the Parable of the Bags of Gold found in Matthew 25:14-30. Here we find a man who has servants in whom he entrusted his wealth. Read this:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.  To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.  So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.  But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“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!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“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!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘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 gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

This story took a steep turn didn’t it? First of all we’re introduced to some people: A man going on a journey and his three servants. The one servant was given five bags of gold, another two bags of gold, and the last one bag of gold. We’re told they are given these each according to his own ability.

There are three categories represented here and it’s not about financial status. It is about ability. In this context we mean the ability  to use your gifts to bring more people to Jesus.

The first two guys were given five and two bags of gold respectively. They came back with five more and two more to their master (Jesus). These men took seriously and invested their time and the wealth to bring back double the amount they were given.

But that third dude, he played it safe.

He took what was given to him and buried it. He said, “I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” Dude completely missed his opportunity to reap a harvest with his gift because why? Oh yes, because he was scared to do anything with his gift. He thought by just giving back what he was given enough.

The master’s response is bone-chilling: “You wicked, lazy servant!” He went on to say, “If you really knew me you’d have invested your money in the bank and returned it to me with interest.”

Ouch. He calls this guy who played it safe wicked and lazy. He calls this guy out for being a surface-y follower of Jesus. He doesn’t know his master. Doesn’t know the master at all. When it comes to taking risks, though, the wicked, lazy behavior of this servant shows he didn’t trust his master. Can’t really trust someone you don’t know, right?

The servant was wicked because he behaved out of his truth, not the Truth, and played it safe.

As if being called wicked and lazy wasn’t enough, the servant is then stripped of his gold. It’s given to the servant who brought back ten bags of gold because the ability of the first servant showed he was responsible with the gift. Even worse, then the master said, “And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Worthless.
Thrown into darkness.
Weeping & gnashing of teeth.

When we’re burying our gifts or pretending to play Christian outside, but inside our hearts are so full of unbelief, questioning, despair, doubt, distraction, false doctrine, false sense of knowing him… we’re worthless to him.

We need to go back to the basics, like the Olympic athletes, and be consistent in the every day. The basics look like this:

  1. Take account of your heart.

Where is your heart? How are you feeling? What’s going on around you? How’swork? What are your stressors? What are the circumstances going on around you? How’s your health? How’s your sleep? Do you believe Jesus is who he says he is?

When we take account of our heart we assess our circumstances. We write down all the things going on in our lives at the moment. We get a perspective change. We remember to focus on what is holy, righteous, and true—not be distracted by fancy verbiage that sounds so sweet to the ears, but is eternally damning. We realize we have been given a mission and gifts to achieve success.

  1. Take inventory of your gifts.

Where have people said you excel? Where can you invest in yourself to get better at the gift? Where can you practice your gift in helping lead people to Jesus? What things can you do but they don’t bring you joy? What things can you do but you shouldn’t right now? What things can you do and you’re not doing right now? Do you know what your gift is?

I guarantee you have influence over people in your life. You’ve been also given a spiritual gift. Hone in on your gift and figure out how you can best serve Jesus with those gifts—bringing as many people to Him as you can. People won’t remember what you’ve done for them. They’ll remember how you made them feel. Make sure how you leave them feeling is confident that Christ is the living son of God, who died, was raised from the dead, to save us from the pits of hell.

  1. Take a priority check

Where are you spending the majority of your time? Where are you spending the majority of your money? Would you be called a lazy wicked servant because your priorities don’t include using your gifts to lead people to Jesus? Are you doing things that really aren’t your priority right now?

It’s been said that money and time follows our priorities. When our money and time is spent with doing the consistent work of learning more of who Jesus is, using our gifts, you can better believe your success and joy will come. But when we make excuses (lies we tell ourselves and others) we’re really being a selfish, wicked, lazy servant of God. Where’d that type of behavior get the dude in Matthew 25?

While we may not be Olympians, we can relate to consistent discipline needed to have a productive life. We have to show up, yes, but we also have to put in the effort to achieve success in whatever it is we’re trying to do.

You know, wherever those athletes are competing—those places are so loud. Like roaring loud. They have competitors next to them. Television lights so bright the athletes could be blinded. Cameras zooming all over trying to catch every single move they make. There are so many distractions.
Yet, the athletes are totally focused on the task before them. They know that even the slightest give into the distraction could compromise their performance.

We don’t have to be Olympians to understand distraction.

Jealousy.
Gossip.
Comparison.
Worry.
Disappointment.
Sickness.
Fear.
Social Media Influencers.

Fix your focus from good intentions, to Him, who assures us the consistency is worth it. And, after all that, the distractions will fade out like white noise in the background.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Run your race ahead of you and may you be called a good and faithful servant.

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hey, i’m Danielle

I love Jesus. I love my family. And I get joy from having a front row view of people growing toward their goals because of what I’ve taught.

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