Most little kids like to show off. Whether it’s a new toy that they’ve acquired, a new talent that they’ve mastered, or a new skills that they’ve practiced and finally retained, they are eager to display their accomplishments to those that will watch them. In a lot of families, there is no greater audience than their parents. This is because not only do children receive applause and accolades after they are done with their performance, but because they are aware of a simple fact – when they do well, their parents are filled with joy. In other words, mom and dad’s joy is not just in watching the thrill that their child is experiencing, but they have joy in knowing that their child is growing and maturing, able to take on new tasks and difficulties. It’s not just joy experienced by proxy, but they actually have their own joy in the display of their child’s development.
In a similar way, Scripture teaches us that we can bring our Heavenly Father joy when we use the talents, resources, and gifts that He has given us in order to accomplish things for the purpose of His Kingdom. One passage that illustrates this point clearly, is the Parable of the Talents. After each servant is given responsibility for a particular amount of money, only those who used it to gain a greater investment are commended by their Master. The parallel lesson for servants of Christ is that He expects us to use what He has given us to reap eternal rewards. Our gifts, resources, and talents are not given to us simply for our own pleasure or sense of well-being; He expects us to use them in ways that will garnish a return in Eternity.
While it is amazing in and of itself that God gives us the privilege of being a part of the work that He is doing, what is even more captivating is that Scripture says that when we do so we are invited to “enter in the joy of your Master” (Mt. 25:21, 23). Much like a child experiences their parent’s joy when they display their new accomplishments, we can experience our Father’s joy as we use what He has given us to bring Him glory. We can partake of His joy, and participate in it, as He commends us for being “good and faithful servants.” We are not just witnesses of His pleasure, we are recipients of it.
For a young child, wholly dependent upon their parents, there may be nothing more motivating than seeing the pleasure that their growth and development brings to the ones who love them most. As believers, the love of the One who cared so much that He sent His only Son to be crucified on our behalf should prompt the same thing. Not only does He experience joy when we use the talents that He has given us for the purposes of Kingdom, but He invites us to enter into this joy, to celebrate with Him the work that He is accomplishing through us. And experiencing this joy should be our joy as well.