Henry Cloud writes:
That is very much like what the loser in the responsibility lottery said in the parable of the talents. Remember the story? The master gives three people different amounts of resources to invest. The first two make their investments and get nice returns. The master rewards them with more resources. But the third blamed the master for not giving him what he thought he needed to make it work, so he did nothing with what had been entrusted to him.
Notice something. God did not say, “What are you talking about? I have not been mean to you! I have given you everything you needed to be successful with your talent!” Nor did he say, “Gosh, you are right. It is tough to only have one talent. Here, I will do your work for you.” Neither what God had given this man nor what he had not given him was the issue. The issue was just one thing: what had he done with what was given him? How had he used it? How had he responded to the options that were available to him? Had he tried his best and failed, he would not have been graded on the failure. He was graded simply on whether or not he had acted responsibly with what had been dealt to him.
When the man made excuses, accusing God of harshness to the point of expecting too much of a person, God could have said, “No, I am not harsh. I do not ask for a return where I have not given anything. Didn’t I start you out with a talent?” But he didn’t say this because the issue was deeper than whether or not the servant had a good excuse. In fact, God’s answer to the man recognised that his excuses may have been real! But they didn’t matter. He said that even if those things were true, the man still should have at least done something! At the very least he should have taken responsibility and put the money to some kind of use. In other words, there is no excuse.
Perhaps our excuses may somewhat define and describe our options, but they do not do away with our responsibility. We still have the freedom to respond to whatever comes our way, whether we get tons of talents or only one.
All of us have certain areas of our life in which we only get “one talent.” And those are the areas where we will be most afraid to make a positive choice. But God has designed the universe in such a way that he expects us to use the freedom he has given us to take responsibility for our situation, find the possible options, and respond to them.
It’s Not My Fault: The No Excuse Plan for Overcoming Life’s Obstacles and Enjoying Gods Best, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend