This Advent season at PCC, we’ve decided to do something a little different than we’ve ever done before. Ok, actually, very different. On the first two Sundays after Thanksgiving, we conducted a reverse offering, and gave every family in the church $100!
But with this gift came this instruction: Use it to BLESS someone else this Christmas season!
We call this outreach our Kingdom Assignment, and it’s based on the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. In this story, the Master entrusts his three servants a sum of money that comprises his property – one 5 talents, another 2, and another 1. Then he leaves. Upon his return, he calls his servants to account. The first two have doubled what has been entrusted to them, while the last servant simply returns the one talent, telling his master, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” For this, the servant was condemned.
The parable of the Talents is what Biblical Scholars call a “Parable of Judgment” because it’s connected with Jesus’ teaching that he will one day return gloriously to earth and conduct a final judgment.
My son rightly pointed out to me that if we were really supposed to “live out” the parable, we would take the money and try to double it and bring it back to church, instead of using it to help others.
But Jesus told the parable in order to make one strong point: Christians are not to “bury” their talent, but put their talent(s) to good use! The lesson is not intended to put pressure on the follower of Jesus to succeed, but to act in faith.
In the next “Parable of Judgment” that Jesus tells, the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, he shows us how we should put our “talents” to good use. In this story, the sheep are separated from the goats. The Son of Man invites the sheep to partake of the inheritance of His Heavenly Father, because the sheep had cared for him when he was in need. The sheep are rightly puzzled and ask, “When did we see you …(in need)?” And Jesus replies: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
So combine the two and here’s the message:
Don’t bury it – be a blessing to others. Do it for me!
Your Partner in the Gospel,
God is Good, All the Time!