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S (Scripture): Luke 19:11 As they listened to this, Jesus told them another parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought God’s kingdom would appear right away. 12 He said, “A certain man who was born into royalty went to a distant land to receive his kingdom and then return. 13 He called together ten servants and gave each of them money worth four months’ wages. He said, ‘Do business with this until I return.’ 14 His citizens hated him, so they sent a representative after him who said, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ 15 After receiving his kingdom, he returned and called the servants to whom he had given the money to find out how much they had earned. 16 The first servant came forward and said, ‘Your money has earned a return of one thousand percent.’ 17 The king replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good servant. Because you have been faithful in a small matter, you will have authority over ten cities.’
18 “The second servant came and said, ‘Master, your money has made a return of five hundred percent.’ 19 To this one, the king said, ‘You will have authority over five cities.’
20 “Another servant came and said, ‘Master, here is your money. I wrapped it up in a scarf for safekeeping. 21 I was afraid of you because you are a stern man. You withdraw what you haven’t deposited and you harvest what you haven’t planted.’ 22 The king replied, ‘I will judge you by the words of your own mouth, you worthless servant! You knew, did you, that I’m a stern man, withdrawing what I didn’t deposit, and harvesting what I didn’t plant? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money in the bank? Then when I arrived, at least I could have gotten it back with interest.’
24 “He said to his attendants, ‘Take his money and give it to the one who has ten times as much.’ 25 ‘But Master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten times as much!’ 26 He replied, ‘I say to you that everyone who has will be given more, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.'”
O (Observation): Jesus tells this story that seems kind of harsh. I mean, give the guy a break, no? He was smart. He hid the money.
But Jesus was addressing a specific concern here: the anticipation of God’s Kingdom coming soon.
And if God’s Kingdom is coming…then get busy using what you’ve been given!!! For the good of the whole!!!
Don’t just sit back and do nothing and say nothing because it’s the smart thing. Take the risk! See the reward! And if you fail…well, at least you tried!
A (Application): Oh Lord…how I love and hate Facebook!
We are so ready to speak, but listening is hard. We are so quick to jump to conclusions and talk past one another.
We are broken.
Heal us, Lord. Help us NOW to see the humanity in one another…that all of us are connected.
We all have immense capacity to harm one another, but (as in the parable) we are also given a gift of grace…which gives us the immense capacity to HEAL!
In Demond Tutu and Mpho Tutu’s book, The Power of Forgiving, they name this gift of shared humanity using the word “Ubuntu.” Ubuntu means “humanity.” This is sometimes expressed as “I am, because we are. We are, because I am.” (The 2003 ELCA Youth Gathering theme was Ubuntu, but the way : )
We have been given this gift of a shared humanity. Let us use it now, anticipating the coming of God’s Kingdom.
How do we do Ubuntu? In a word: forgiveness. We all share the same humanity, regardless of whether we are “legal or illegal,” black/brown/white, male/female, perpetrator or victim. When I wish harm on someone…I not only hurt them, but I also hurt myself…because we are one.
Forgiveness, grace: these are gifts we have been given. Let us not bury this gift or wrap it up in a scarf to harness that for our own sake. Let us share it and multiply the gift. Yes, even to this who we think deserve it the least. This is the only way to heal.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to see our shared humanity. Amen.