An act of worship at home
Reading Matthew 25: 14-30
‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Thomas Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Like the servants in this story, God invites us into a partnership.
The servants given five talents and two talents saw the partnership as an opportunity, an adventure to be explored. They knew that what the Master gave them could easily be lost, stolen, invested badly, but they took the risk anyway.
The third servant saw the partnership as a burden, a potential landmine to be feared. He knew that what the Master gave him could easily be lost, stolen, invested badly, and so he opted for damage limitation.
This servant avoided the challenge of partnership, only to find that playing it safe can be the biggest risk of all.
Preachers often use this story as a launching pad to discuss stewardship; the concept of sharing gifts and talents,
and making the most of what God has given us. And when they do, our minds may immediately turn towards the “bottom line”. But stewardship is not just about money, or pledges, or building schemes. It’s not just a project, or an event, or a theme for a particular Sunday of the year.
Stewardship, like discipleship, is a way of life.
It’s a way of living each day in faith and in gratitude. It is a lifestyle of receiving, of multiplying, of letting go,
and yes, of taking risks.
Stewardship is a way of remembering that we live in a world we do not create; we receive blessings we do not earn; we use resources we do not own and our response to this generosity can either be a profession of faith
or a profession of fear. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love or live.
Our Gospel reading reminds us that we worship a God who is willing to invest in us.
A God who is willing to take a risks for us and encourages us never to be afraid but to be set free to use the talents we’ve been given.
Let’s be grateful for those who refuse to hide away the gifts and talents God has given them but are willing to use them to the glory of God.
Thanks be to God.
Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God, we come to you in prayer.
From all that we are, for all that you are, we offer our love to you.
You are our Maker and Minder: in you, darkness becomes light;
chaos becomes order; and the desert bears fruit.
You are our Friend: reaching out a hand of forgiveness and hope through Jesus to the world;
embracing us with strength and courage.
You are our Guide: breathing your Spirit in us and between us, so that we can know your grace in our lives
and show your grace to the world.
Lord, we thank you for those whom we can call sister and brother in Christ.
Thank you for the jumbled family of faith That we know as your Church.
As we come to you, asking your forgiveness for all we’ve done wrong or have failed to do,
we know that we are your children, people of bruised knees and wounded hearts who have been soothed, comforted, healed by the ointment of your love.
For your Church family we pray:
We pray that we may limp – so that we will always lean on you.
We pray that we may be weak – so that we will always need your guidance.
We pray that we may doubt ourselves – so that we will always trust you. Amen.
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee:
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love:
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King:
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold:
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine:
Take my heart − it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store:
Take myself, and I will be,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
God of eternity, take the past with its memories, take the present with its activities, take the future with its uncertainties, and make of all three one wonderful whole; and so may the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with us all this day and forever more. Amen.