Let go. Come Holy Spirit and have Your way. We give our lives, resources, talents, gifts and skill-set to be used for your glory. Come Holy Spirit and have Your way. Come Holy Spirit. Come! Come in your own special way.
If we take today’s Gospel lesson literally, the interpretation is quite disturbing. This passage could be used as an apologetic to push the message that the rich are destined to get richer, and the poor get poorer. The person with ten talents (a very significant monetary measure) is going to double profits, the person with five talents is going to double profits, but they are going to take the one talent away from the person that only has one talent, and he or she will be poorer still. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I guess that’s one way you can look at it, at least from a purely literal interpretation. (Matthew 25:14-20)
What is the deeper message. What are the talents? What are the gifts? What is the message behind the parable. What is the deeper message? Jesus uses parables to connect with people where they live. The parables are always pointing to a subtle truth, a truth that the parable relates to. Jesus says: “I talk to these people in parables, because they seem to relate to the connect better to the reality that I am talking about. If I tell them bluntly, they just don’t get it. But, if I give them a story that they can identify with, it helps to open their minds and hearts to the truth behind the parable, the truth of what is being said.” It is our job to dig out these nuggets of truth. I like the proverb that says, “it is the glory of God to conceal a mater, but it is the honor of kings to search out a matter”. (Proverbs 25:2)
So, what we have here is a message about God-given talents, abilities and gifts. We are all given gifts and talents. Some of you have more than others when it comes to building the church, and using your gifts to minister to the community at large. Some of you are exceptionally talented, perhaps geniuses in your area of expertise. Many of us are not experts. Some of you are very talented in areas like art, music, finance, engineering, management, administration, leadership, science, philosophy or specific building trades. Many are talented. Even five talents and one talent are symbolic here of a lot of trust on Gods part. Doggone it! God wants us to use those talents!
Take some risks. The least you can do is to take you talent and invest it, so that you can bring back some dividends. You don’t have to be that creative, but the message is to use it for the glory of God. Don’t go bury your talent! The message again: “Don’t go bury your talent that God has given you, because you are afraid, and you might think: “What happens if I screw up”? I’ll just sit tight on this gift, so it will still be a gift someday. I don’t want to use it unwisely. If you don’t use your gift, you’re going to lose it. If you do not use what you must advance, to enhance, to build upon what others have built on before you, and be willing to take risks for the kingdom of God, you are not doing justice with the gifts, the talents, the skill-set that God has given you. The Holy Spirit give those gifts for you to use them, not to bury them.
We are asked to take our gifts, to multiply them, to take some risks, to be willing to go out on a limb. Isn’t it time that we go out on a limb and take some risks. The beautiful thing about the church, at least the way the church is supposed to work is this: You are free in Christ. We welcome you to use your talents, your gifts, teaching, administration, leadership, evangelism and multitude of other talents and skill sets, for the glory of God, and to multiply those talents. Use that purse that will never run out, that will never be empty. Use the resources that the Holy Spirit has given you, to invest in the Kingdom of God. Okay, so how can we do that, you might ask?
I’m glad you asked. For instance, we can start with the practical stuff. One of the practical things includes our buildings and grounds, the place where we worship, the place we call our spiritual place to hang out. What needs to be done. About a year ago, we purchased two new air conditioners for sanctuary. Some of you made some pledges for that, and God bless you. It’s not too late to come up and say, “I’d like to make an offering to go for the purchase of the new air conditioners, because it was nice this year in August, September and October to have cool temperatures for our church services. It’s such a blessing to be cool and comfortable in our church services”.
Another area is our pledges to the church for 2018. We have met the number of pledges we wanted to see, but we are @ $10,000 below where we want to be for our 2018 pledging budget. We have at least one confidential pledge increase of $2500 that will bring us 25% closer to that goal. I’m not asking anybody to pledge $2500 or more a year. But I am asking you to prayerfully consider what you can do. Even $10 a month extra will pay our office phone bill for three months. Take the risk. It’s for a good thing. Not just our finances but our gifts, talents and skill sets. That’s stewardship. It’s all part of using that purse that Jesus tells us to use, the purse that will never wear out. (Luke 12:33)
What about outreach? God help us. Use your gifts. Take some risks. I have some risks in mind that I can’t even tell you about right now, for this church. Because you might look at me and say: “Father Dave, you have got to be crazy”!
The Lord will provide. Sometimes you must step out and take some risks. I’m looking at a God of plenty, not a God of minimal resources. I think it is time to move out, and let go and let the Holy Spirit have her way, in the church, in your life, in your family, in your careers, and in every part of your life.
Let go, come Holy Spirit and have Your way. We give our lives, our resources, our talents, gifts and skill-set to be used for your glory. Come Holy Spirit and have Your way. Come Holy Spirit. Come!
The Reverend Dr. David Madsen
Pentecost 23, 2017
St Alban’s Episcopal Church
El Cajon, CA 92111