Formations lesson for June 29: Moving Out in the Name of Christ
June 13 2003 by Tommy Bratton , Matthew 25:14-30

Formations lesson for June 29: Moving Out in the Name of Christ | Friday, June 13, 2003

Friday, June 13, 2003

Formations lesson for June 29: Moving Out in the Name of Christ

By Tommy Bratton Matthew 25:14-30

"My Lord God ... I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, will I trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone" (Thomas Merton, from Thoughts in Solitude).

Our parable today is about risk, using the gifts God has given to us and trusting that our desire to serve Him faithfully is worthy in God's eyes.

Trust and responsibility Jesus' parable begins with a man entrusting a large quantity of his wealth to three of his servants. In the story, there are no explicit instructions given to any of the servants on how to manage the money. The master trusts the servants to make the appropriate decision on how to invest the talents. In this case, to be "good and trustworthy" is not to blindly follow a list of instructions, but to discover how one may use the gifts given to make a positive difference.

The servants who are called "trustworthy" are the ones who risk the wealth entrusted to them and multiply the amount. The "wicked and lazy" servant is the one who responds with fear of what might be if he were to fail to produce.

It is important to note that God knows the abilities of the servants (Matt. 25:15). God does not give more than He knows each can handle.

The parable of the talents seems to teach the hearer that one must increase what God has given or she will lose it. However, the parable also seems to teach us a lesson of our attitude and understanding of God.

Risk and fear It was a tradition of the Middle East, at the time, that if someone were trusted with something valuable, burying the precious item in the ground would absolve the person of the responsibility of caring for the item. The servant is called "lazy" because he failed to take responsibility for the riches entrusted to him. He wanted to play it safe.

We often teach our children that: "It is not whether we win or lose but how we play the game."

What would happen if one of the servants had failed to increase the master's wealth? I believe the master was not just concerned with productivity but with effort and risk.

Fred Craddock has written: "The major themes of the Christian faith - caring, giving, witnessing, trusting, loving, hoping - cannot be understood or lived without risk."

The wicked and lazy servant was afraid of the wrath of the master if he failed. His attitude toward the master was based on obligation rather than opportunity to serve. He focused on the master's harshness rather than on his generosity.

Reward and reproof When we responsibly take care of and multiply the blessings of God, we are given more blessings. The trustworthy servants were faithful with the riches entrusted to them, and they were rewarded with more. The lazy servant was indicted for failure to risk. That which he feared most came to pass, the judgment of his master.

Some believe they have not been given enough "talent" to be useful in God's kingdom. Yet I believe that we have each been given more than enough by God. We have been gifted with the grace of God, the compassionate love of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, each according to what God thinks we are ready for and can act on. Even those given "one talent" have great responsibility to use what God has given them to increase God's kingdom.

The message to us today is that we must share ourselves without fear, using our God-given gifts, our passions and our creativity that we might build up the body of Christ. Our God is a generous God who rewards our efforts if done to please Him.

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6/13/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tommy Bratton , Matthew 25:14-30 | with 0 comments
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