When Johan Gutenburg invented his movable type printing press, he relentlessly determined it would be put to use to produce Bibles for the masses. In 1456, he produced the first printed edition of the Bible.
This is Scott Paschal, the Head Donkey for Christ here at Christiantennis.net.
Let me ask you a question. You don’t have to send me an answer, just think about it and see if God reaches out to you today.
Here’s my question…
If you had unlimited resources, by this I mean lots of money, time, contacts, support; what would you do with it?
Your resources are whatever you need. If you could dream as big as possible, what would you want to do with your life? What would be your “mark” in life?
Many people I have asked this question to have said great things to me, such as “I would make sure everyone has enough food,” or “I would stop all cancer and disease,” or "I would move to another planet.” Seems like I’ve heard it all.
Most people feel they would do great things for mankind if given the opportunity.
As the “Christian tennis guy” who founded the International Christian Tennis Association and founded a Christian Tennis & Missionary Academy in the USA, I often have contact with junior tennis players and their families.
When I ask the player what their goals are for their game, the main response I receive is the player wants to become #1 in the world on the pro tour specifically so they can tell people about Jesus. Mom and Dad smile real big and nod.
That’s the response I get 9 out of 10 times.
I am a big dreamer. Hang around me for a day and you’ll see what I mean. Not only do I dream big, I’m a positive person. I also live for a major challenge to come my way.
Man, a major challenge that makes me dream big and forces me to work on staying positive… wow, I’m getting excited just thinking about it!
Yet, as much as I love to dream, I’m a realist. No, a realist dreamer isn’t an oxymoron. For me it used to be because I didn’t understand the way God works. I didn’t understand Him. So, I dreamed big and got no banana.
The problem was I was dreaming in a good way with positive goals, but I wasn’t being faithful in the small things God was asking me to do.
God couldn’t bless my dreams to fruition because I wasn’t quite ready.
Hey, it makes sense! If I can’t take care of the small things He gives me to do, how can I take care of the big things He sends my way.
After young Ashley or Jake tells me they want to be #1 in the world so they can tell more people about Jesus, and after Mom and Dad smile and nod their heads together, I tell the little family my story.
I tell them how God has spent the last 25 years developing me in many ways. How 15 years ago major changes came into my life which placed me on a collision course with the God of the universe.
How 10 years ago I decided God actually did care about and love me. And how 8 years ago I felt led to focus my attention on ministry, then 7 years ago God led me to step out in faith to dive fulltime into growing my dream… the International Christian Tennis Association.
I know exactly what the most junior players feel in their hearts when they want to be #1 in the pros. Yet, I also know the odds of it happening.
I’ve learned God might have a different plan for us.
Instead of giving the child and parents a “You can do it,” pep talk, I ask them what they would like to do with their life if God decides He doesn’t want them to play professional tennis.
I also say that would be a big responsibility being such a famous athlete. Much would be expected of them. And, of course, the road to such a high level in sports is full of setbacks and challenges. There can be major injuries, financial crisis, illness, parent divorce or death, genetic deficiencies….
As the junior player tends to say they want to be #1 to tell people about Jesus, I also ask them what they are doing right now, today, to share their faith. I look at Mom and Dad and ask them if they have shared their faith with anyone lately. Do they understand the Great Commission of Christ as written by Mathew in Chapter 28 of his book in the Bible?
They all tend to shake their heads and say they really haven’t done much of that lately.
I remind them God knows their hearts and sees everything they do, as well as what they don’t do. I then usually share this story from the Bible…
Jesus often told a story to teach a lesson. This is the story of the talents paraphrased from Mathew 14-30.
One day a man was going on a long trip. He needed his servants to take care of his property while he was gone, so he called them to him.
To the first servant he gave five talents of money. (A talent was not a coin, but a weight of a precious metal such as silver, and one talent was worth more than $1,000. So this servant received money worth more than $5,000.)
This man went to work at once using his money until he had doubled it. He now had ten talents instead of five.
The master gave the second man two talents. He probably thought the man was capable of managing that amount of money. The second man was successful also, and doubled his money. He began with more than $2,000 and now he had twice as much.
The third man was not as capable as the other two, but the master gave him one talent with the expectation that he would manage it well. He, too, could have increased his money, but he dug a hole and hid it in the ground.
After a long time the master returned. (Some think the master's trip is a picture of Jesus returning to heaven, and the return from the trip is the judgment of mankind.) He was ready for a report from the servants.
The man who had received five talents brought his money and showed the master that he had doubled it. He was happy to show his master the results.
The master was well pleased. He said, "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 that had been given two talents showed the master that he had also doubled his money. He received the same words of praise as the first man who had received five talents.
The man who had received one talent dug up the talent he had buried and brought it to the master. He accused the master of being a hard man to work for, said he had been afraid, so he just buried his talent. He gave it back to the master saying, "See, here is what belongs to you." (Now the Jews could not charge nor receive interest from a fellow Jew, but they could get interest from a person who was not a Jew.)
The master was very angry with him and called him a wicked, lazy servant. He said the man should at least have put the money with bankers and received some interest.
The master took his one talent away from him and gave it to the man who had ten talents, and the one talent man was punished because he had not properly used the talent he had been given.
Here’s the same parable from the NIV Bible…
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21"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!'
22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23"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!'
24"Then the man who had received the one talent 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. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26"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? 27Well 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.
28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
God knows our hearts. He is the One who truly knows what we are and aren’t ready for as we strive to follow Him.
God understands that you and I are in need of His guidance, mentorship, and grace. That we need Him, that we yearn for His heartbeat in our lives, that at the end of the day only He can bring our dreams to fruition.
As you look deep into your heart and ask God just exactly what He wants from you, listen for the big dream he speaks for your life.
And for those of us whom God gives talents, search your heart to discover if you are using your talents wisely. As you become better and better at using your talents to do God’s will, you will be trusted with more by Him.
Johan Gutenburg had a dream of inventing his movable type press. He overcame all challenges and obstacles as God led his dream to reality.
Then, when faced with the talents he was given, Johan decided to use these precious talents, his Master had trusted him with, to produce the first printed edition of the Bible!
He then went on to produce Bibles for the masses.
What is it God is leading you towards?
Whatever the big dream is God has planned for you, know it is a step by step process of taking the dream to a reality.
Maybe God is leading you to write a book. Maybe He needs you to invent a new power source for cars. Maybe he needs you to be the next #1 professional tennis player in the world.
Whatever it is He has in store… look for the talents he has entrusted you with.
Search your heart.
What you do with your talents today will have a great impact on your journey in making your dreams a reality for Him.
May God bless and keep you,
International Christian Tennis Association
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Hello Coach Scotty, I really enjoyed this article. I liked how you paraphrased the parable of the talents before presenting the scriptural version to help clarify it for the reader. I think being around so many talented Christian Tennis players practicing and developing their abilities, you might appreciate this little story. My father used to try and get me sing in church in front of everyone, but I was very shy about it. He used to use this scripture to tell me I shouldn’t bury my talents or I could lose them as the unfaithful servant did. When I got a little older and understood the talents were precious metal, not actual talents, I said aha! God wasn’t saying I had to sing or lose my talent after all. He was talking about being wise with money. But then of course I grew a little older and wiser still, and realized this very clever parable not only could apply to developing and using actual talents such as singing or playing a sport well, but to being a good steward in all that God has given to us. I realized that, yes, we should strive to practice and grow our talents and abilities as well as any possessions He blesses us with. I do believe I understand the Master’s parable and its broader interpretation now, and in doing so, must also admit that I could lose my talents and possessions, in this life or the next, if I am not a faithful servant. I guess I should go tell my father, he was right! Coach Scotty, do your students often admit you were right when you give them good advice about developing their abilities? Again, I thoroughly enjoyed this article.
amy, scott paschal here. neat story about your dad. about advice to my christian tennis ministry students... well, i have been blessed to have coached a lot of kids these last few years at my christian tennis academy in florida and i will have to say my kids taught me at least as much as i taught them. kids today are really great. i learn many new things from each christian tennis student god sends. i'm coming to an end of my season in life as a fulltime tennis coach. as rewarding as it has been, i feel god calling me to more... much more. i've learned things from my kids that i will take with me for sure. in 3 years i've enjoyed working with 30 fulltime students. 25 of thse kids have been really great, fun to be with people. i've learned much from them and their families. 5 of my students have been bad apples. they each spent a lot of time trying to spoil the bunch. 3 had to be expelled! yet, i learned a lot from these kids to. for me, expelling a kid is hard. yet, i know god expects me to take care of my talents. but, overall any academy which has 80%+ of their students as great kids who are happy customers in today's tennis world is doing pretty good. now, i look forward to my next great adventures god will bring as i bring my fulltime coaching to a close, and bring in my exciting new projects "talents" god has brought. thanks for your review, amy. much appreciated!