What Do I Do With All of This Stuff???

  S (Scripture): Matthew 25:14 “For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. 19 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 29 For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

O (Observation): Jesus continues to teach his followers about the call to use the gifts one has been given, to the fullest, risking everything for the Lord.    That’s a part of this parable that doesn’t get spoken explicitly: the risk of it all.  

The slave with five talents and the slave with two talents both take great risks, but only because they trust in the process of risking and stepping out do they receive their reward.  

The slave with one talent does NOT want to risk even the little he’s been given.  Most would say that was wise…but that’s not what Jesus says…

A (Application):  What do I do with all of this stuff?   Do you have an attic full of stuff?   Do you have boxes packed away somewhere that you haven’t looked at in over 3 years?   I can answer yes to those last two questions. 

We are so affluent in this part of the world (I live in the suburbs of Nashville) that we tend to have stuff that we don’t need or are afraid to use and get it “messed up.”  In the end, those precious things we store away tend to be ruined by moths, rust, or mold.  

But I want to take this as a metaphor for what we are doing (or not doing) with our spiritual gifts.    Are we using the gifts we’ve been given?  Or are we letting moths, rust, and mold consume our precious God-given gifts?

Are we afraid to risk it all?   Or are we hope-filled that as we use our gifts, God will be there to give us the grace we need to carry forward?  

Talents look different to each person: prayer, leadership, pastoral care, hospitality, etc. 

And in God’s economy, we will receive (over a lifetime) more and more talents (I.e. Gifts and responsibilities in God’s Kingdom)…not because we’ve earned them…but because God’s grace helps us to trust God in our risk-taking.   

We thank God…who has given us so much…and guides us along the way.  

What talents have you been exercising lately?

P (Prayer):  God, give us responsibility along with the many talents you have graced us.  Help us to rely on you for all the risks we take in your name.  Amen. 

To overdo…or Not to Overdo


S (Scripture): Psalm 119:161 Rulers pursue me for no reason, yet I am more afraid of disobeying your instructions.

O (Observation): The psalmist has a healthy fear of the Lord.  The psalmist conveys a sense that displeasing the Lord would be worse than displeasing people of power in this world.  

A (Application):  I think this is where my sense of conviction comes into play.   I would much rather displease the powers and principalities of this world than The Lord.   And moreover, this tells me that the Lord is more powerful and just than the rulers and powers of this world.  

This approach has a very practical impact on my daily life. My kids aren’t overdoing it in terms of activities.   They have chores and learn to save, spend, give with the money they earn from chores.  Being a good steward is a key value for us, and we try to live that out.  This also means that we don’t just spoil our kids, even though the trend is to have the latest phone or video game system, etc.   

For my wife and I…we put purchasing a new HVAC system on hold until we save a chunk of change large enough to pay for a new one with cash.  The world says we should put it on credit…but window AC units and (safe) space heaters do wonders : )

Our time, talent, and treasures are granted to us by God.   That is the Good News!   We have gifts and ministries to share.   Let’s use them for God’s glory, and not just for the world’s approval.  
When we focus on the world’s approval, we tend to be disappointed.   When we focus on what God calls us into, we receive grace upon grace.  

What “rulers” are you bumping up against today?  Are they financial bullies?   Emotional?  Spiritual?

P (Prayer): Lord, challenges lie all around us.  Keep us steadfast in your ways, which bring life and abundance. Amen.