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Summary: Headline Los Angeles Times: Dylan Floro goes from the “forgotten man to an integral part of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Floro pitched 1.1 innings The parable of the talents is a reminder not to waste opportunities. Dylan Floro did not waste his talent nor his opportunity.

In Jesus Holy Name November 15, 2020

Text: Matthew 25:14-15

“Making the Most with Your Opportunity”

Who is that man on the cover our Sunday Bulletin? Why is he there? I’;; answer that in a moment. (cover of the bulletin was the Dodger pitcher Dylan Floro from the World Series) The message today is not about how to get to heaven nor have peace with God… it is a reminder from Jesus about how we are to live our lives while we wait for His return.

I was thinking about using our talents, our abilities when given the opportunity and I was remembering a pitcher who made good on an opportunity in the recent baseball world series. His name is Dylan Floro. The Headline in the Los Angeles Times read: Dylan Floro goes from the “forgotten man to an integral part of the Dodgers’ bullpen.

Some of you may be Dodger fans, some of you didn’t even watch the Baseball World Series. So why am I telling this story? Dylan Floro is not a multi million dollar pitcher. He pitches a few innings and then returns to the bullpen. He has been traded around. His unique skill and talent gave him a fancy ring and life time memories.

Dylan grew up in Merced. Attended Atwater High School, played college ball at Fullerton State. He was drafted in the 13th round in 2012 by the Tampa Bay Rays and spent years in the minor leagues playing for the Rays, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Dodgers. He made it to the “big leagues” in 2018 as a relief pitcher. As a relief pitcher you may pitch one or two batters or one or two innings.

Floro pitched 1.1 innings in the 2nd game of the Word Series. He did not allow a base runner. He threw 19 pitches, a beautiful 93 mph Sinker with action, ten of which were strikes. At his next outing…runners were on base, the Dodgers were in trouble. He came in and threw his 93 mph sinker with action. Batters swung and missed. The Dodgers eventually won the World Series.

The parable of the talents is a reminder not to waste opportunities. Dylan Floro did not waste his talent nor his opportunity.

We are coming to the end of the church year. We have been hearing stories from Matthew’s gospel. Jesus told these parables during Holy Week. During those short few days between riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, being hailed as King and then being arrested and put on trial, Jesus took the opportunity to preach and teach. The Parable of the Talents is the last parable that Jesus tells before being arrested and put on trial.

After the parable of the Ten Virgins Jesus tells this wonderful little story. It is called the Parable of the Talents. It is simple, clear and easy to understand. And its lessons are impossible to miss.

This parable tells us what we should do while we wait for Jesus to return. We are not to go off to the mountains, sit in a tent, drink RC Cola, eat Moon Pies, and play Trivial Pursuit all day long. There is a warning here against laziness and passivity. And there is a call to action, to vital living, to risk all that you have for Christ and his kingdom. Salvation is not simply a “cheap bust ticket to heaven. We are to work and use our talents to bring glory to God. We are to be in service for the common good, expanding the kingdom of Jesus.

These stories are well known: the parable of the wise and foolish virgins; the parable of the sheep and the goats; and the parable of the talents. These parables are familiar but we might miss the importance of their setting. Each story is told in the context of His second coming. Jesus is teaching us how to prepare for his return.

We are living between the ascension of Jesus and His return. The Parable of the Talents is not about salvation but about how we invest our time, talents that God as entrusted to each of us. The unfaithful steward in the parable didn’t so much as waste the master’s money….he wasted an opportunity.

In one of his books Chuck Swindoll challenges believers to live with excellence, to go the second mile, to stop making excuses for non-performance, to turn our faith into deeds that change the world. He says that excellence is possible if you:

Care more than what others think is wise Risk more than others think is safe

Dream more than others think is practical Expect more than others think is possible.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Jesus share what is now known as the Golden Rule. He said: “So what ever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is message of the Law and the Prophets.” On another occasion, the evangelist Mark recorded Jesus telling His listeners: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than this.

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