The parable of the talents…..


We are closing in the on the holidays already which doesn’t seem possible.  Soon we will be in the season of Advent in the church, a season of waiting and anticipation of Christ’s return. 

Like last week’s scripture, today’s scripture is about what we do while we wait for Christ’s return.  Today’s scripture is titled, “The Parable of the Talents.”

At this point in Matthew’s gospel Christ is in his final days.  He has returned to Jerusalem for the last time.  His final parables in Matthew’s account are about what we are to be doing while waiting for his return.

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.

 A talent was a measure of weight in biblical times.  The master of the estate was incredibly wealthy.  A talent is about 75 pounds of precious metal.  75 pounds.  An ounce of gold today is worth around $1,300. 

If you do the math a talent or 75 pounds of gold today is worth around $1.5 million dollars.  That is one talent, the first servant got five and the second servant got two. 

What does scripture say that the master of the estate did after giving this large amount of money to his servants…….He went away.  He didn’t give them any instructions.  He just gave it to them.  It seems apparent that he trusts them to be wise with it.

Helluva nice guy isn’t he.  What if I were to tell you that the master in this parable is Christ, he left but not before giving a bounty to his people?  What if I told you that the servants in this parable were you and I? 

That we have been given a treasure or a talent in the form of intellect, knowledge, life experience, talent, time, our ability to earn and a ton of his grace to boot?

And what if I told you that someday we will have to account for what we did with our God-given talent?  I will come back to that.

The master of the estate, he just left.  No directions, no instructions.  The servants were free to do what they would with what they were entrusted with, much like we are.  I want to talk about this for a minute.

Our God, the God that we serve limits himself in this parable and he does this often.  He limits himself so that others have an opportunity to lead and flourish. 

Christ, being of the same spiritual substance of The Father, came to this earth in the same limited manner that we exist, in flesh and blood.  Bound by time and space among other things. 

He limited himself as a penniless, itinerant carpenter turned preacher who emptied himself of his divinity to take on our broken condition.  He goes beyond limiting himself, he completely emptied himself.

He lived like the poorest of the poor with the poorest of the poor and spent his time with the lowest of the low.  Now, Christ did heal people, he performed miracles, he brought people that were dead back to life. 

But he lives his time on this earth consistently restrained.  And why would he do that………Is it because he hands the keys to the kingdom over to us, to each one of us?  That he wants each one of us to be about his work.

Is it because we are in his final days in the book of Matthew and he is making sure to make his point that he is leaving and these are the expectations for those who profess to know him?

God calls us to lead in one form or another.  Leadership isn’t about titles, we are called to lead our families, our church, our community, our school and many other things.

We weren’t made to sit on the sidelines idly watching the world go by.  Here is another window into my cynical and twisted mind.  In my experience in different leadership positions those that sat idly by, not only did they not help, they consistently attacked, smeared and hurled insults at the ones trying to get things done. 

Enough of that.  We are called to lives of service.  He are called to lead, we are called to be in ministry and we are called to be the light in this world.  We don’t retire from Christian service.  As long as there is air in our lungs we are called to be of service to the church.

After leaving his servants to do what they would with his money, the master returned.  “The one who had received the five talents had gone off and traded and made five more talents.”  He had doubled his master’s money.

“In the same way, the one who had been given two talents made two more talents.”  He also had doubled his master’s money.  Pretty impressive, do you know how much time it would take to double your money – legally?

“But the one who had received one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”  After a long time the master, or Christ in this example, returns.  He is anxious to see what his people have done with what he has entrusted them with.

The one given five talents had pleased his master, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant, you have been trustworthy in a few things.  I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.”  Enter into the kingdom and splendor of God’s presence.

The one given two talents had also pleased his master and is greeted the same, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant, you have been trustworthy in a few things.  I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.”

The servant given one talent had to give his account of what he had done with what he had been given.  This servant’s response appears to be more of a reflection on his own character than the nature of the God we serve.

“Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid and I hid your talent in the ground.  Here you have what is yours.” 

The third servant, the one given one talent sat idly by.  After many years, maybe even a lifetime he had not been about his master’s work.  I envision this servant shrugging his shoulders as he hands the money back and then goes on the offensive about how it isn’t really his fault.  It is the master’s fault, it is God’s fault that I didn’t do anything productive with what he gave me.

The master was not happy.  “You wicked and lazy servant!  You knew, did you that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter seed?  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received it with interest.”

“Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten talents.  For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 

“As for this servant, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

A warning parable about the accounting we will have to do when Christ returns.  Everyone is gifted whether they think they are or not.  The gifts we are given vary from person to person, no one gift is better or more important than another.  Those gifts are not to be wasted or to sit idle.

In this season of Thanksgiving, as we approach Advent and the celebration of Christ’s birth, let us be about God’s work in this world.  Let us feed, clothe and minister to the poor.  Let us be the church.  Let us be the light, the city on a hill that give sight to the blind and ears to hear for those that need to know our God.

Pastor Shawn LaRue, Seymour UMC

Author of Incomplete

 

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Reasons for Cheer


These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Basic Combat Training is the official name for what U.S. Army veterans affectionately refer to as “boot camp”—ten weeks of programmed exercise, education, exertion, and examination. It is not fun nor meant to be. When new recruits begin to flag after the first week or two, they are reminded, “You can do anything for ten weeks!” In other words, the experience of suffering changes radically when there is an end point in view.

When Jesus was preparing for the most intense of His own tribulations, His arrest and crucifixion, He warned His disciples that they, too, would “have tribulation.” It would not be open-ended tribulation but tribulation with parameters. It would not last forever; as He did, they would ultimately overcome the world and its tribulations; and those boundaries on their suffering were reasons for “good cheer.” He did not define the end point, only that the end point would come.

When you wonder if the world has gotten the upper hand, remember: Christ has overcome the world. And, in Him, so have you.

The staying power of our faith is neither demonstrated nor developed until it is tested by suffering.
D. A. Carson

Life in the Raw


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Saint or Sinner

I wonder if people actually share their real feelings on WP. I am talking about the slime and the grime. The stuff that makes us human, yet the stuff that we don’t want others to see. We  like to present polished images of our mad puffery.

I have often contemplated of just laying it out there, but then what would others think? Will I be accepted?  But then again, who cares about acceptance and about what others think?  If we cant be true to ourselves then what is the point of existence. Isn’t that what Jesus said, that the truth will set you free. ( I get it…. its a little out of context). But think about it… If I were to say something controversial , people would whisper about it, but it will eventually become  boring and uninteresting.

In this world, there are two types of people, The ones who proudly flaunt public indecency and make a spectacle of vagrant behavior to the point of making it de rigueur and then there is the normal folk who are ashamed perpetually  of the imperfections in their life, who are constantly looking for ways to make semblance of their hum drum lives. Some days better than the others….. struggling to make peace with grace, forgiveness. and redemption.

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future: Oscar-wilde
The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future: Oscar-wilde

Redeemed


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I am impressed in debt
I cant seem to wring free
these bonds that tie me up,
are tightening its grip on me
my nakedness reveal my shame
my inner man is but a shadow in retreat
Each day brings forth neglect and compulsions
I cant seem to idle away a day in sublime peace
When will this torture end
when will my contenance shine
My faith is on a precipice
but I cant loose hope
I can ignore the world
ignore the reality of death
but I cant ignore the claims of a mad man
for he was either mad, bad or the son of God
No man has made such claims.
no man so bold
None died for a treacherous lie
none personified such foresight
I know my path is set
I know my resolve will be tested
but the captain of my ship
his sights are keen
He holds my hand
no condemnation, but grace
his promises are everlasting
and I await his return.

Written by: Prashant Thomas

The Bitch & The Lord


A couple of years back, there was a pastor who used to counsel me. We used to meet at around 6ish in the morning. He was a great guy and I really admired his willingness to go the extra mile. One day as we were parting after our morning meeting, he called me and I turned back and looked at him. He smiled and said “You know you are a bitch right!!!”. I was a bit shocked, but then I realized he was just trying to wake me up from the maladies (or slumber) that I was suffering from. I am a servant of GOD…. because I know that I am saved.

Romans 8:1

1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

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Forgiveness is a very difficult concept to understand.

Where have I been
these years of yearning.
My life riddled with the benign
caricature of a vagrant being.

You called me by name
You knew me from before time,
But I recognized the shame
of a life untamed

Bankrupt and insolvent,
my soul wreaked by an ailment
Emancipated and outed as a miscreant,
My sacrilege, aberrant and errant.

Hands that wrote away the onlookers
Men with stones to mark the hooker
Forgiveness in the hands of the maker
Tenderness and compassion, devine in nature

How oft can you find such love
How oft can you deserve such kindness
My LORD and my GOD
I will never perceive or
comprehend the nature of

HIM WHO IS, WHO WAS & EVER WILL BE

Written by : Prashant Thomas