“I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground” (Matthew 25:25). So said the person in the Parable of Talents who received the one talent. He did not increase what he had like the other two in the parable because he had excuses. When he didn’t meet the master’s stewardship expectations, he declared himself a victim of an unfair system and his own emotions. He certainly is not the character in this story that we want to emulate.
The victim mindset is one of the biggest lies for the New Covenant believer to defeat. It has neutralized many from getting free in their emotions and circumstances. Recognizing common excuses can help us avoid the pitfalls of the one-talent servant. Here are five excuses that frequently flow from the victim mindset:
- I Don’t Have Enough Time – We have more time available to us than we might think. If our doctor told us we must be still for two hours a day or we will die, we would find time to be still for two hours a day. The issue is not so much a lack of time but a lack of desire for change or a lack of awareness of how bad beliefs about our time frustrate fruitfulness. One helpful realization for me was that there are few “normal” weeks (https://ignitinghope.com/igniting-hope/i-realize-that-there-are-few-normal-weeks/).
- I Don’t Have Enough Money – A perceived lack of money neutralizes many, but these two truths will help defeat this excuse. 1) “Decide and He will provide,” and “2) Provision follows quality decisions.” Something powerful happens when we make a quality decision. “Seek first the kingdom and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). As we believe and move forward, we will realize we already have the resources we need to start the flow of greater provision. In 2 Kings 4, the widow told the prophet, Elisha, “I have nothing except a little oil.” This “little oil” became the key to breakthrough and increase. Like the widow, as we are influenced by prophetic culture, we learn to see what we do have, even it seems small. All of us have talents to start with right now. None of us have been left out.
- I Will Probably Fail – On one level, this is probably true because those who succeed most also seem to fail most. It is rare for anyone to start a new habit or new assignment and not struggle to do it well at first. The toddler learning to walk is our guide as we seek to walk higher in what we do and in how we respond emotionally to life. The toddler doesn’t let failure (falling down) define his identity or future expectation. He does not get his identity beliefs from his past but from what his parents do. He believes he is a walker and this helps him overcome difficulties in walking. He is not bound by perfectionism, but he understands true growth comes from celebrating progress, not perfection.
- I Don’t Have the Proper Skills – This one is similar to #3 but deserves its own mention. When Wendy and I were first considering writing a book, we thought, “But we have never written a book before.” Well, every author had never written a book before they wrote their first one. We all have to begin learning the skills we’ll need to be successful in what we desire to do. And, in this day of YouTube instructional videos, we can learn everything from how to fix a toilet to how to overcome a fear of public speaking. There has never been a time in human history where we are more set up to acquire the expertise needed to make our dreams a reality.
- People Are Holding Me Back – Whether it is our family, a leader over us, the nation we live in, or someone else, this can feel very true, but it is not. David had a dad who did not believe in him, brothers who belittled him, and a king who tried to kill him, but he still fulfilled his calling. Joseph fulfilled his dream and destiny even though his brothers sold him into slavery, Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape, and the chief butler forgot him. Daniel lived in an extremely ungodly culture but still overcame and fulfilled his assignment for decades. These Old Testament heroes overcame difficult people and so can we.
I see the Father releasing grace over you to overcome these excuses like never before, so you can increase your talents in marvelous ways. For deeper insight into this, please listen to my podcast here.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.