Friday, November 11, 2011

2nd to Last Sunday

Proper 28 (13–19 November)
Almighty and ever-living God, You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who trust in You. Dispel from us the works of darkness and grant us to live in the light of Your Son, Jesus Christ that our faith may never be found wanting; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

What the Day of the Lord will be like– Like a man going on a journey
Matthew 25:14-30

Our Gospel lesson is a continuation from the parable related to the Lord’s return from last Sunday. In the parable of the 10 virgins a basic and yet profound principle is made – each must believe for himself. In the parable concerning the talents the question for us to consider is this - so now that you have come to a saving relationship with Christ what have you done with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Did you use it or did you abuse it? Did you let your light shine or did that light go out?

According to the parable, the Lord’s return is long delayed (v. 19). The servants are asked to give an account of their investment. Two servants doubled the investment and the third preserved what he was given. The third servant was condemned for not making the most of his talent. It was taken from him and given to the other two.

Jesus has ascended and His return has been delayed. When He comes, He will ask for an accounting whether we have worked for Him while He was absent or whether we have cared only for our security. When Christ returns He will ask each of us “What have you done with the Gospel entrusted to you?” Let us pray…

“Lord God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by your Holy Spirit that, always keeping in mind the end of all things and the day of judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of life here and may live with you forever in the world to come.”

To one servant He gave five talents, meaning a sum of money, to a second two, and to a third one. Why is life like that? I don't know. We are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our abilities, we are as different as different can be. God simply did not make us all the same.

There are some people who can handle five talents; there are some who can handle only one. There are some persons who have great intellectual capabilities, and some who do not.

There are some who have the ability to project and articulate their thoughts, and there are some who cannot. There are some who have physical prowess and attractive looks, and there are some who do not. The important thing to remember is that each servant was given something. No one was left idle.

Some claim that they have no gift, that they have no talent. As a result, they fail to use and develop what little God may have given them in terms of possessions, natural gifts, and faith. People, we need to be challenged to use all the gifts to the fullest for the glory of God. This parable asks each of us to answer the question: “What have you done with the gospel of Jesus Christ?

1. Some hide it for fear of losing itI was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you. v. 25. Accomplishing a little is better than accomplishing nothing at all. The reason why the master was so angry at the servant who buried his talent was because he did nothing. The only real failure in life is in giving up. God's grace is endless therefore we never need to give up. When you give up, you close the door on God changing you.

Transition: Use it or lose it.

2. Invest itWell 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. v. 27. The servant who was given five talents was called good and faithful because he went at once to put his talents to work—do the same. Whatever it is that you need to accomplish in your life, there is something you can do TODAY to get started. It's not our job to worry about what we don't have; it's our job to make the most of what we do have.

Transition: Faithfulness always leads to a promotion.

3. Multiply itThe man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' "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!' vv. 22-23. You'll be given opportunities according to your ability. Not everyone gets the same opportunity, because not everyone is capable of handling the same amount of responsibility. Whether you're faithful with a little or a lot, God is equally pleased. Being responsible always leads to more responsibility.

Conclusion: God gives each a gift according to each one’s ability to use it. In the last analysis, however, we are all equal in being accountable for whatever gift we have. A person's Christian calling should not lie hidden and barren: it should be out- going, apostolic and self-sacrificial. "Don't lose your effectiveness; instead, trample on your selfishness. You think your life is for yourself?

Your life is for God, for the good of all men, though your love for our Lord. Your buried talent, dig it up again! Make it yield. Christ has entrusted you to the work of His kingdom. Why? Because He believes in you.

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