So...here it is and thanks for reading.
First of all I would like to congratulate Julie for reading that first lesson so well. Each one of those words was read so precisely. In that old testament reading the Israelites behave badly again and God lets the Canaanites conquer them. This appears to be a never ending struggle with the Israelites. They get on God's bad side, mostly because they start worshiping other gods and after a time and much repentance God forgives them. On a much smaller scale we are a little like that in our relationship with God. We do something that we believe goes against God and we ask God's forgiveness....and we trust that he gives it.
Paul tells us in first Thessalonians to “not fall asleep as others do but let us keep awake and be sober.” and to put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. He encourages the followers in Thessaly to build up each other. Paul knows that there is strength in communities that encourage and support each other in their faith. That is why I am here. I need that spiritual support that each of you give me.
The gospel reading from Matthew is a story about a master and his slaves. Parables are teaching tools that sometimes make us scratch our heads and wonder “what is he trying to say.” We know the story. The master is leaving on a long trip and entrusts a large sum of money to each of his slaves. Two slaves invest the money and double their investment and the third buries it in the ground.
When the master returns, the two slaves who invested are called trustworthy slaves by the master and are told they will be put in charge of many things. The third (its always the third) simply digs up the money and gives it back. His reason was that he was afraid of the master and called him harsh and someone who reaped where he did not sow. The master counters by saying you could have at least invested it with bankers and given back the money with interest. In short, he throws him out.
Here is my take on what this parable is telling us. We all have God given talents and I mean that, God Given Gifts. We have a choice. We can invest those gifts those talents in ways that enrich others and spread Gods word. Or, we can bury them and never let them see the light of day.
Jesus makes it clear that we should chose to use our talents. So, what are our talents. I posed that question at bible study last Tuesday. I asked the individuals in our group what their talents were and my attempt failed miserably. I am going to pose that question to all of you but I am going to do it a little differently. I am asking each of you to tell me about the talents of another person in the congregation. Let's start.
Now that we have identified a gift of each of us. My next question is how are you going to use it. Where do we go from there. That question I leave with you and one cautionary note. Don't leave your talent buried. They master does not like that.