Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 25:14-30
This Sunday is Palm Sunday! Huzzah! Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem!!!
But I won’t be preaching on that text…where would the fun in that be? Although…I do have a really great sermon on the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem…everyone needs to hear at least one sermon on a donkey in their life…if you’re interested in that one check back with me on Sunday, April 13, 2014.
*super early sermon planning – awesome*
The text for this week is the Parable of the Talents – easily one of my favorite parables; although, it is a rough one. The first time I heard it I was absolutely captured by the thought that Jesus could turn to me and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I remember one of my youth pastors (now we are colleagues – woah!) growing up teaching on this parable. Alex spoke with such conviction about this parable – to use what we are (what I am!) given by God to the fullest – each and every day – so that we are (I am!) counted among the faithful at the time of judgment.
This message wasn’t to scare us into service – like you better do this or Jesus will getcha! No. That wasn’t the message…there were other organizations in town that played that tune. One even had an event each year called “Hellbound”…imagine a haunted house scenario that groups would proceed through but each “room” was a different spectacle of someone that had unfortunately met his or her demise and didn’t know Christ; therefore, they were Hellbound. Everything from drive-by shootings to car accidents to substance abuse to suicide to the steps of an abortion clinic.
Not my cup of…coffee. (I don’t drink tea.)
We have talents so we can use them to the furtherance of God’s Kingdom on earth. Not a use ’em or lose ’em mentality. Not a use ’em or else mentality. But a use them because God gave them and I am so overwhelmed and excited to receive them that I can’t do anything else! That kind of mentality.
Each talent we receive from God is an opportunity – an opportunity to act, an opportunity to respond. And I think the last thing that God wants is for these talents, these opportunities, to be missed. If we miss them, then they are gone…and that negligence and carelessness is what will keep us from among the faithful.
I think what frightens folks – I know at times it frightens me – is that we receive a talent and that introduces us to an opportunity, but we are hesitant to get started – to jump in with both feet – because we can’t see the end result…where in the world will this take us?? I am sure if God wanted us to know that immediately, God would tell us upon our receipt of the talent. That we don’t know is evidence that God wants us to trust – to trust God to do what God does – that God gives generously and rewards greatly and invites us to come along in faith. We don’t know where our feet are going or on what they will land, but God does, and that assurance should be our motivation to get out there, to carpe diem it up, to get dirt under our fingernails, and to serve so as to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Reflection: What talents has God given me? Am I athletic, an effective communicator, a good listener, an artist, a musician, a dancer, a financer, a hair dresser, a gentle hand, a kind heart, a candlestick maker? If I struggle to identify my talents, who can I talk to in order to discern them? How can I use my talents for God’s purposes? How is God calling me to use my talents? If I am resisting the opportunities that my talents present me, how can I start to engage them? Who can hold me accountable to employing my talents?
Prayer: Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. Amen.*
*”Take My Life, and Let It Be” from The United Methodist Hymnal Book of Worship, 399.