Summary: A sermon about using the gifts of God for God’s Kingdom.
“Use It Or Lose It”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace UMC, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
Author Dan Kimball is quoted as saying: “You can’t do nothing. Whatever it is that you try, at least you will be able to stand before Christ one day and say ‘We gave it our best shot…We never quite figured it out, but we certainly did try!’”
May the same be said for the people of Grace United Methodist Church!
This morning’s parable challenges us to make full use of the gifts God has entrusted to us.
Our love for God must be demonstrated in faithful and untiring service to other people!
In the parable of the talents the Kingdom of God is illustrated by a master—who represents God…
…and servants of the master—that’s us!
The master owns the property that the servants use to raise their food, feed their families, play, work and live, and for a time, the master has entrusted his property to these folks.
And not only has he entrusted his property to them…
…he has also given each of them a huge sum of money.
In Jesus’ day a talent was equivalent to approximatley 6,000 denarii, that is, the earnings of a hard worker for twenty years.
The allegorical meaning of this is to get through our, sometimes thick skulls, the immensity of the gifts, and the preciousness of the gifts that God has entrusted to our care!
Even the one with the least ability is given huge responsibility, an honor for which he should be grateful.
He is entrusted with a mere quarter of a million dollars.
This is not something to be resentful about!
But he is resentful nonetheless.
Maybe ‘non-plused’ or ‘apethetic’ would better describe his attitude.
The man with the one talent simply did nothing with it.
And that is the biggest crime of all!
What a waste!
What a selfish way to live.
He didn’t even try.
Although the others went at once to put their talents to work, the one talent guy didn’t even bother to leave the starting gate.
He “dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
When the master returned, after a long time away (we are reminded), the man who had received the one talent made a whole bunch of excuses as to why he didn’t use what was entrusted to him.
And mainly he blamed the master!
“I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.”
In other words, his master is a harsh and difficult business man, a “slick dealer” who takes far more from a business transaction than what he really deserves.
The master’s gift to the one talent man is therefore not a privilege or an honor but a burdoning responsibility—a real pain in the neck!
“I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you,’” said the one talent man to the master.
And with these words the servant disclaims any further responsibility for the money.
He may even be expecting to be commended for showing such prudence and returning the stacks of cash intact.
The master answers the unproductive man by using his own language against him—except he leaves out the adjective translated as “hard” as in “I knew you were a hard man,” because this isn’t a true depiction of what God is really like.
Whereas the one talent man characterized himself as being “afraid”, the master calls him “lazy” instead.
He see’s right through all the excuses and blame-placing—and calls it like it is.
The master wanted his servants to go out and enjoy working his land.
He wanted them to be willing to take risks for the kingdom…
…to be willing to live outside the box…
…to share the abundance of God’s gifts with everyone!
But this takes some effort.
It takes some initiative; motivation.
The easiest thing to do is to do nothing instead!
Just go along with the “status quo.”
Don’t make waves.
Don’t risk anything.
Just put the SUV on cruise control, sit back and take a nap.
Don’t bother to do a thing with what you have been graced with.
Don’t put forth the effort to try and make this world a better place.
Don’t lift a finger to help other’s out—after-all, they probably wouldn’t even appreciate it anyway...so what’s the point?
You’d just be wasting all your gifts and graces for nothing.
And after-all, you weren’t given much in the first place.
And this life is hard.
Every person for his or herself!
What’s mine is mine and that’s that!
That was the attitude of the one-talent man.
How many of us can identify with him?