It’s easy to shy away from contribution. Whether it’s simply a conversation, or serving at church or volunteering your time in a school P&C. I’ve disqualified myself from contributing countless times – I’m not smart enough, or bold enough, or fun enough. I’ve found myself stuck in dark corners (literally and metaphorically!) wanting to step out and contribute to conversations, to the life that’s bustling in the centre of the room and fear has held me back, or the lie that what I have to contribute isn’t enough.
But when you step out from that lonely, dark place, and add just a tiny bit of whatever you have, it begins to be multiplied! There’s a story I love that’s about a master who’s going away and entrusts his investments with his servants. To one servant he gives five bags of silver, to another, he gives two bags of silver and the third servant he trusts with one. The first two servants both begin to use the money wisely, invest and make a return on it. What they have doubles because it’s being used, sustained and guarded well. The third servant is too scared to do anything with hers, so she buries it. She doesn’t lose it but he makes no return on it either. When the master comes back he’s so happy with his first two servants that he tells them he’ll give them more silver and more responsibilities. But the poor servant (who reminds me so much of myself in her dark little corner) timidly tells her master she hasn’t lost his money but she was too scared to make a contribution so she buried it away… and he was furious with her! He takes her one bag of silver and gives it to the other servant who’s not afraid to use it. He tells her it’s criminal to live that cautiously.
And to make a contribution? We have to live bolder and a little bit louder (I know, for the quiet introverts this is much easier said than done, but if I can do it, you can!). This quote by Shauna Niequist speaks to my soul:
It’s about realising that what makes our lives meaningful is not what we accomplish, but how deeply and honestly we connect with the people in our lives, how wholly we give ourselves to the making of a better world, through kindness and courage.
Each one of us has a sacred calling to love big and hard, and to contribute whatever we have – even if it feels like it’s not enough. Your voice, your story, your contribution, your talent – your bag of silver… it’s more than enough. There is a need in your every day for you to bring you wherever you go. Let’s be generous with our lives; with our time and our praise and our patience and our voice, and step out of whatever dark corner that’s held us back. We need your unique contribution – don’t bury it!