SER # 44Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 15TH 2020
TEXTS: MATTHEW 25: 14 – 30
THEME: TRUSTING STEWARDS
God bases his involvement among his people on the level of trust he has on each person. He also knows our ability; like a parent does to their children. Our story today is based on three important components of life: Trust, Effort, and Accountability. All we have and are is based on trust and ability. God has a way of helping us through life challenges. Every challenge we face is not new somebody else may have faced the same in the past. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Many here today find ourselves accountable to somebody. It could be our spouse, our bosses and even our friends and children. When we think of accountability it takes a broader meaning every day. I believe a parent is accountable to their children in one way or the other so are the children to their parents. As we think about this parable, very often we are scared of the words that are used to the unfaithful servant and forget the central message. The story is not so much wanting to tell about the punishment of the unfruitful servant, but teach to the lesson on trust, accountability and effort.
The stage is set here by a certain business person going on a journey and decides to trust his people with some money. None of these trusted people is said to be in charge of the other but each of them is independent and they have a free choice of whatever each wished to do with what they were given. Like you and me we are accountable first and far most to God. In this transaction the money is used and it was a lot of money. Some scholars say one talent equal to 15 year of working. One talent was said to be about 6,000 Denarii’s and if you can remember another parable told by Jesus a person was paid a Denarii’s for days work. Since the talent was also said to be a weight some writers have suggested that one talent was could be equal to a one quarter of million dollars therefore suggesting in case of our story the one who got one talent it was not that bad it was like a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000,00). We also know from the story that each talent represents different gift that God has given us. Therefore, as we think of this story about the talents what lessons can we draw from it to help us in our faith journey?
- Each of us will be held accountable on the final day: It is always good to remember that we are accountable to God regardless of where we are and what we are doing. Sometimes because our accountability report is not requested on annual bases by God in a sense it is very easy to forget that. Many have been involved in giving reports at their work place and other spheres of life. But many Christian including myself I very often forget I will need to give account of my life because what I have and who I am is not mine. I belong to God. I believe one day he would ask me what I did with my eyes before I became blind or my hands before I had arthritis. What I am simply putting across to all of us here today is that God is holding us accountable each day. We have no good reason not to try to use the little that God has put in our lives. God will always place us in certain places for a reason and ours is to exploit the moment. God has given us different professions in life the accountability question will always be “what did you do with it for God’s Kingdom.” I believe he will never ask us how much money we left in the bank, or how much stock you had in your stock market. The accountability questions will be: I was naked, hungry, in prison, homeless…… what did you do? I believe God did not make you a Methodist or any other denomination just for you to only attend church but for you to be used within the system. You are invited to provide leadership within your church, be involved in all kind of ministries that the churches is involved in like, Sunday school teaching, youth, small group, bible studies, outreach in our community and the list goes on.
- Each is given different according to the ability: When the master in our story today gave different amount of talent to the three persons, the bible says that he gave them according to their ability. The master knew them well enough to know what they were capable of doing. In the same way God knows us too well and to each of us is given according to our ability. The first problem we have is to look at the other person’s ability and conclude that ours is worthy less or does not come near and hence we fail to try or make an effort. God knows that we have different ability but what he requires from each one of us is equal sacrifice. Put in a different way we “Don’t have equal gifts BUT can put equal sacrifice.” When we look around nature, we can learn many things. Look at the birds building a nest. All it uses is it Bick for it has no hands and yet it builds a nest and has it babies there. To continue the same idea, we also know that different birds build different kinds of nest. Nobody would blame any of them because their nest doesn’t look alike. Human use tools and machine to build a house for their children. Different abilities but same effort and goal. In the same way you might not be able to preach like Bill Graham but, you can cook for the rescue mission team. Maybe you can teach someone to read, make a garden grow, comfort someone in sorrow or pain, motivate and inspire people; help run a dishwasher and the list can go on. The problem we have like the servant given one talent we think of our gift being modest to make any difference. But that is not true even a modest gift can be used to the glory of God. You must have heard someone say, “even if I don’t go nobody will miss me or to put to our season timing ‘even if I don’t vote my vote does not make a difference.” That is not true in God Kingdom you will always be missed your actions mean something. You may have heard a story of the two sick people who were in the hospital room. One was on the window bed side and the other was on the solid wall side where there was no window and was made to lie on his stomach and was not allowed to move. Each day in the afternoon the one on the window would tell stories of how the outside looked good some days even with the parade going down the street. The one man who did not have a window on his side was so sick that he could not even turn, but he always looked forward for noon time when his roommate would tell him what he could see outside. It was during noon time when the nurses would come and help him for, he could not even move from his bed. This went on for quite some time until one day there was bad news that the man next to the window who told him stories had died at night. When his roommate was informed, he was so sad for he knew there was no one to tell him what was happening outside. After mourning for his friend for a while he made a special request to the nurses. He asked them whether he could be moved to the bed which his friend was but the nurses did not know why this kind of request. The nurses agreed with the request. After he was settled on his bed with a lot of trouble he decided to turn and look outside to enjoy all what his friend used to tell him about. When he turned after much trouble, he was met with a brick wall with no window, surprised he then he asked the nurse, how come his friend told him of how nice it was outside and yet there was no window but was only a brick wall? The nurses told him his friend was blind but he wanted him to get better. The blind man helped the sick person through positive imagination. You can do it too. You can make a difference to this world too if you can just try a little.
- God is looking for our faithfulness: The story also reminds us God is looking for our faithfulness. Remember the word at the beginning is trusted. God finds you to be trustworthy hence we are called to live to that. In this story the sin of the person given one talent was of self-depreciation. That is the failure to recognize the value of what he was given. Our failure not to nurture and develop what God has given us will lead us to complaining and thinking that we did not get what we deserved. We can only be faithful to what God has given us by our willingness to Many that can sing will not risk because they think they are not good enough like others, many that can-do hospital visit will not risk because they think they don’t know what they would say once they are there. Your presence is what counts the most not what you say. Our failure not to want to risk lead to the sin of unfaithfulness. When we even do not want to try, the obvious will thing is to start blaming others. Just remember when you have a talent and don’t use it you lose it. Many that used to play piano or golf or even swim they lose if they don’t keep using it. When you don’t pray you lose the ability of praying. Being faithful to small things God will entrust you with bigger things. You never know how you can touch someone’s by very small act. I remember many years back serving in a church where there was this small lady and I mean small in body that did not know how to read, but she came to church every Sunday. After the worship she would come by me and tell me “pastor I have been praying for you this week” and that gave me the energy for the following week for I believed her and I knew no matter how the week was going the little lady was praying for me. People don’t try because they are afraid to fail. I have this quote in my car that reads “A Person can fail many times but he/she is not a failure until he/she gives up.”
The key word here is that don’t give up because Jesus has not given up on you. Try your best and keep trying.