In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus makes the point that it isn’t the amount of talent we’re given that matters. It’s what we do with it.
In God’s economy, risk is greater than security. This is easy to forget, because in this day and age, we are all about security. Security from terror threats, from economic hardships, from sickness and disease. We install security systems to prevent robbery. We lock our cars. We use crazy long, hard-to-remember passwords to keep people from hacking our internet accounts. Security, in the proper context, is perfectly acceptable and wise. But because humans tend to be creatures of habit, it can be easy to let this secure mentality slip into all areas of our lives - our faith included.
It is a perfectly human emotion to have fear. Again, as with the talents, it’s what we do with it that counts. Fear can drive us forward and can be the inciting factor that causes us to do our greatest work. But fear can also drive us inward. In that case, it propels us into self-preservation mode, and instead of using our energy to use the talents we have been given, we squander them. We hide them in the ground and rationalize that we are really doing what’s best. Sometimes, we even chalk it up to “wisdom.” Context is key.
In his message on Sunday, Pastor Josh challenged us to consider this parable of the talents from a collective viewpoint. Are we, as a church, going to bury our talents? Or are we going to press forward, in spite of our fears, and invest our talents into our families, our friendships, our communities? Are we willing to sacrifice, to take the risk, to invest in the Kingdom of Heaven?
From a human standpoint, there is little security in this. But as a church, we need to rewrite the programming of our minds and remember that even as dangerous and fearful as investing our talents may feel, there is no safer place in this universe than being in a place of obedience and surrender to the Savior. So, in God’s economy: our risks will actually bring us to a place of security.
Pastor Josh asked us to consider if we know Jesus well enough to love him, surrender to him, and invest back into his kingdom what he has given to us. Can we do this even though we are afraid or uncertain of what, exactly, this could mean for our lives?
A whole can only be as strong as its parts. Collectively we, as a church, want to invest our talents so that they can have a powerful impact on our community. But this will only happen as we, individually, respond accordingly.
Pastor Josh will speak further on this subject in the coming weeks, but for the moment, let’s make sure that we take stock of the talents we’ve been given and ask ourselves these questions. Let’s press forward through the fear, insecurity, or reluctance. Let’s unbury our talents, invest with greater risk, and let loose the grip of our own intentions. Just as risk is greater than security, so God’s desires will infinitely trump our noblest plans.
How have you been gifted? How have you been serving? In what ways have you been afraid or reluctant to serve?
Contributed by Aimee McNew
I was recently in a small group with several student athletes from Huntington University. In this group there are men who are in season and out of season. But one theme seemed to be resonating with all of them. None of us have enough time. As much as I want to believe that this person or that person has more time than I have, I realize that we all seem to be in a hurry.
Often the people that I wish I could spend more time with I see in passing at Wal-mart or Owen’s or we rush by and say hi as we bus our kids to different events around town. I think that we all need to take a moment, slow down and figure out what there is in our lives that we need to get rid of because it is keeping us from connecting with actual human beings.
As I sat with that group of men that night, I shared with them some advice that I read in a book by an author named John Ortberg. I don’t remember which book it was, but I think he was quoting a man named Dallas Willard. Regardless of who said it, it was good advice. “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Hurry steals the joy from many of our lives. Could there be something in our lives, even a good thing, that if we eliminated it would open up space in our lives for God to bring a greater sense of joy to our lives?
When we get rid of some things that we don’t have to do, we may just find out that there are a few things now that we get to do. Serve in a ministry, pray regularly, read our Bibles, exercise. How about this? Invite someone over to enjoy an evening of conversation and growing in friendship. What are your priorities?
The early church understood the importance of this. In fact, outside of gathering for worship together, we read that “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,” Acts 2:46
The other night, a newer couple invited Molly, the girls, and me over for dinner. They cooked us one of their family favorite meals. Much to my delight and my children’s surprise, they covered the table with newspaper, took the pot of food and poured it out on the table. Out came corn on the cob, sausage, red potatoes, and shrimp. Our wonderful hostess then placed a melted bowl of butter in front of me as I wept
for joy. No plates, no silverware, just laughter and glad and sincere hearts. I truly believe that both this couple and our family could have come up with dozens of reasons that we didn’t have time to do this, but we didn’t and I am grateful. Our relationship grew and God’s church grew stronger.
It is so easy to say that we should get together or have people over or connect with a new family in the church. But too often “we should” becomes we didn’t. John shares with us that mere intentions are not enough. So as Pastor, I will let his challenge to the early church be my challenge to you: 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
- Josh Kesler, Senior Pastor