Summary: So many people in Church (and life) have talents and skills that they are wasting. This sermon encourages people to used their God given gifts for His glory and suggests that their life will be more fruitful if they do so.

As I start my sermon this morning I want to ask if anyone here today likes to receive presents. Does anyone have with them today a present that they received from someone?

[ask around room and get people to tell about the special present and who gave them]

There’s something special about receiving something as a present over and above getting it just for yourself. I suppose that if you bought yourself something no one would mind if you wasted it or threw it away but when as a present there’s an obligation on the part of the recipient to take care because you could offend the person who gave it to you.

I have a present – it’s a bike made from wire [hand it round for people to get a closer look and feel] It’s a bit scrappy if you look at it up close but if you come to my house you’ll see this bike on display on a shelf in my office.

It means a great deal to me and I display it always - you see it’s from a friend in Zambia. He came to visit me and brought me this bike as a present. In Zambia the poor street children pick up bits of scrap from the rubbish heaps and use them to make things. They then sell the things to passers by for a living. My friend lives and works in a copper mine in Zambia and he tells me that for these young boys who make the things it is their only source of income. Whenever he travels throughout the world on business he buys a number of these items as gifts for the people he meets along the way. It’s a really special gift because of where it has come from and who brought it to me.

Has anyone ever received a present from someone that you didn’t like? No - not from your Mother In Law. I mean hs anyone ever received A PRESENT that you didn’t like?

Perhaps your grandchildren or children. You know what I mean – the type of gift that you look at it thinking “oh my goodness no!” whilst saying “ oh thank you – that’s lovely”

My 6-year-old son likes to go walking in the fields behind our house and on occasions he’s picked some flowers on the way for his mum. Usually dandelions or some other type of weed and occasionally some tufts of grass.

All god’s creation I know but hardly a bouquet from Interflora. Or the lovely flowers in church today.

He gives the weeds to his mum and she says “Oh Thomas thank you” and she gives him a big kiss and fetches a little jar as a vase to put them in. We often have little jars of dandelions, grass, thistles, daisies or buttercups on our kitchen window ledge – and in some ways they are much better than any bought bunch because it was my son who gave them.

Can you imagine how my son would feel if my wife said to him “oh they are only weeds” or if she took them from him and just put them in the bin when she thought that he wasn’t looking. Because he see everything.

A jar of my son’s flowers had been in the jar on the window ledge for several days and had died. When we eventually threw them out my son wanted to know why we weren’t displaying them still.

Has anyone ever given someone a present and they just threw it back in your face – so to say. Have you ever given an ornament or a picture to someone and the next time you called they weren’t displaying it?

I know that’s what Church jumble sale’s are for and that someone will like it – but what if you thought long and hard about that particular present? What if it was a really valuable present – but the person you gave it to didn’t recognise its true value and stuffed it in the attic or the bin. You might feel a bit unhappy when you went to visit and realised that your gift had been not appreciated.

What has all this to do with the passage from LUKE 12 on watchfulness?

Well in that passage we are instructed by Jesus himself to be ready – verse 40 “you also must be ready”

Ready for what?

Verse 40 tells us that Jesus will come again, AND that it could be anytime, AND that you must be ready.

“You also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him”

But how can we be ready? You might ask I pray every day, I come to Church on Sundays. I’m a really kind person – I think. I’m a good Christian – I’m ready – I think – er maybe.

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