NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2014
This week is the second Sunday of 3 in which the assigned lectionary scriptures are dealing with the 3 “end times” parables found in Matthew 25. Though they are “end times” parables, they offer us insight and wisdom for living our lives today in hope as God’s children before the “end times” come.
This year I decided not to look at the 3 parables independently of each other. Instead, I decided to read all of Matthew 25 as one reading to discern if there was a single message in it. I discovered there is one message with 3 points. The 3 points one in each parable represent a progression of how the life of a Christian show unfold once we are ‘saved.”
In the first parable about the “Ten Bridesmaids” that I preached about last week, the insight offered was “Be Prepared.” “Be Prepared” to live life to its fullest while you wait for the end times. Be prepared to live without regrets of what could have been. Be prepared to step into opportunities that come before you as well as the challenges life will throw at you. The insight is the encouragement to simply “Be Prepared.”
In this second parable for this week on “The Talents,” the insight is “Get To Work.” To be kinder, let’s say “We Are Saved To Serve.” In the parable of the Talents, two of the people used the talents they’d been entrusted with and reaped the rewards of their labor. The man gifted with one talent, out of fear or laziness or both, chose to do nothing with his talent but buried it. As a result, he is tossed into the outer darkness where there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Let me just say that I do not believe the one talent man was banished to destruction forever because he didn’t use his talent. He lost the use of it and never received the benefit of having it. What I believe is that he allowed fear to keep him taking a risk on the rewards of joy and fulfillment to be received from using the talent he had. For me, I believe that the outer darkness, the weeping and gnashing of teeth represents the agony of regret of what could have been if only he had taken the risk on using the one talent he had.
“The Parable of the Talents” is a message to Christians “We Are Saved to Serve” and we serve by using the talents we have. My preaching professor, Fred Craddock said, “The major themes of the Christian faith – caring, giving, witnessing, trusting, loving and hoping – cannot be understood or lived without risk.” Well stated! I might add that when we understand “We Are Saved to Serve,” we will take the risk of using the talents with which we have been entrusted. In doing so, we enrich our lives, help others, and bring glory to God’s name here on earth. In addition, we will neither find ourselves living in the outer darkness of regrets nor will we experience the weeping and gnashing of teeth of what might have been.
Join us for worship this Sunday at Covenant. I’ll be preaching on this second “end time” parable of “The Talents” found in Matthew 25:14-30 with a sermon titled “We Are Saved To Serve.”