Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 116; 147:12-20, Zechariah 13:1-9, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 19:11-27
Jesus told a parable about a rich man who traveled out of town to secure a royal title. He gave ten of his servants equal sums of money to manage in his absence. The man was not popular, so the town sent messengers to ask that he not be made king, but he received his title. While he was away, one servant doubled his sum and another increased it by half. The new king was pleased and rewarded both with proportionally greater responsibilities. A third servant had buried his sum. Because the king was displeased, the servant explained he feared punishment had he invested the money and lost it. The king took the sum and gave it to the servant who had invested most wisely. The moral is that those who are trustworthy with a little will be given more, and those who are untrustworthy will have it taken away, so use your time and talents to the best of your ability to further the kingdom of God.
Most discussions of this parable focus on using our talents wisely, but let’s ask what it means that the servant buried what was given him, instead of banking it as his master would have preferred. The man was gambling on the hope that his master would not return a king – and maybe not return at all. Banking it left it in his master’s name; burying it in secret gave him a chance to claim it. If we devote our time and talents only to personal gain, and not to the greater purposes of God, we are in effect stealing what has been entrusted to us; we are betting against the ultimate righteousness of God.
Christ drives this point home in more than one parable. No one’s gifts are too meager to be put to good use. While taking a chance with them can be scary, these parables don’t condemn those who try then experience setbacks – they demonstrate disfavor toward those who do nothing. What you have to offer will be multiplied when you put it to use. Trust God to trust you.
Comfort: Your gifts and talents are meaningful when you give them meaning.
Challenge: One talent most of us have is the ability to encourage others in the use of their talents. Be generous with your encouragement.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the many gifts and talents you have given your people. Guide me to use them to glorify you. Amen.
Discussion: Have you ever been surprised to discover a talent you didn’t know you had?
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