Summary: (Read Matt 25:14-29) Parable of the Talents - Apply to principles of trust and stewardship
Another week of witnessing fires sweep through hills and homes, continues as a backdrop to our consideration of stewardship; and developing of life of trust.
- One man on T.V., wandering thru the ashes that had once been his home… “We come into this world with nothing… We leave with nothing”
- He knew all to well the truth of what we began with last week, as we considered the question of ultimate trust.
- Stewardship begins with such question of ultimate trust and values, but this trust is to guide our lives every day as well
o Next week-faith: how we can experience and exercise our faith in giving
o Fourth and final week, as we enter Thanksgiving week, special time of giving honor to the owner of all.
(Read Matt 25:14-29) Parable of the Talents
- Apply to principles of trust and stewardship
1. TRUST BEGINS WITH ACKNOWLEDGING ENTRUSTMENT
- Who’s is it to start with?
A traveler, between flights at an airport, went to a lounge and bought a small package of cookies. Then she sat down and began reading a newspaper. Gradually, she became aware of a rustling noise. From behind her paper, she was flabbergasted to see a neatly dressed man helping himself to her cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took a cookie herself.
A minute or two passed, and then came more rustling. He was helping himself to another cookie! By this time, they had come to the end of the package, but she was so angry she didn’t dare allow herself to say anything. Then, as if to add insult to injury, the man broke the remaining cookie in two, pushed half across to her, ate the other half, and left.
Still fuming some time later when her flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket. To her shock and embarrassment, there she found her pack of unopened cookies!
How wrong our assumptions can be.
Many of us can feel that way towards God and need that ‘oops!’ experience… reminding us that “God’s the owner; I’m the manager.”
The earth belongs to God! Everything in the world is His! (Psalm 24:1)
You may say to yourself, My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:17, 18)
- A steward is one who works for and with the owner… “stewardess or steward on an airplane… Don’t own the plane; but are to distribute what the owner provides.”
- Many people recognize God as having given us so much, but fewer recognize it as a LOAN.
- This is essential to the Western World which has been shaped largely by a Judeo-Christian worldview that recognizes we are stewards, caretakers, managing partners of the earth, its resources, and all God’s work.
- Largely being lost in our culture, especially regarding our resources and ability to work and make money.
Voltaire, the atheist, once remarked that Protestantism is merely a less expensive substitute for Catholicism. Sometimes I wonder.
Lukas Vischer commented on Voltaire’s feeling by saying: “The French philosopher Voltaire was highly critical of the Roman Church for what he felt were its excesses and its avaricious demands. But he was even more critical of the Protestant churches for allowing themselves to be used as havens for those whose religious convictions were determined by the desire primarily to keep more of their money for themselves.” (From J. McCarther ‘Giving God’s Way’ p10)
- Church so abused its role in the stewardship of God’s work that the desire to keep it separate grew.
- The phenomena has only grown further in the protestant tradition.
- And yet Jesus walked right up to the place of offering in the temple, watched how much each put in and then spoke about it—commending the widow who gave all she had.
- 16 of 38 parables he taught are concerned with how we handle our money and possessions
- The scriptures in all have some 500 verses about prayer, 500 verses about faith, and some 2,000 verses on how we view our $ and possessions.
- Why? Because how we handle our money determines who owns our lives more than any other factor.
- Precisely because it is so PRIVATE; the least socially formal element in our spiritual lives.
- Thomas Merton, great Catholic theologian, said “Money has demonically usurped the role in modern society which the Holy Spirit is to have in the Church.”
- How could this come about?
- What goes on in our private world that so competes with a trusting relationship with our heavenly Father, and a reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide our lives?