November 15, 2020
O Lord, we gratefully acknowledge the gifts you have given to each of us for service in your world. Gifts of teaching, healing, inspiring, challenging and creating are all among the myriad of things you have placed in our lives. Direct our lives to use these gifts as we reach out to our neighborhood and nation, following your love and your healing mercy. We pray this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Scripture Readings for this week:
1Thessalonians 5: 1-11
The Parable of the Talents based on Matthew 25:14-30
Gifts – everyone has a gift or talent to share! Some may be simple, or others may be more elaborate. Just think about it. Have you ever been afraid to use your gifts, talents or skills? Have you ever thought that your skills and talents were not appreciated by other people? I remember a time in our church when we used to hold a “time and talent” auction. Everyone would come forward with some kind of talent that they could auction off or give of their time to help someone else. We always had a lot of fun at these events and we learned a lot about each other’s talents or gifts. Some people sang, knit, sewed, baked, or even took other people out in their cool cars, etc. We should not be afraid to use our talents. Remember talent means something different to each of us – reach out “excel” You know the saying “Use it or lose it.” I have always considered my talent to be music, but my family has always considered my talent to be the gift of the gab. I have come by it honestly through my Auntie Merle who could talk your ear off if you let her. She was a wonderful lady and always brought a smile to your face on her visits. I also use a smile as a gift for me to use with other people. It just seems to come naturally to me. It is a universal sign that everything will be ok.
In this week’s gospel scripture reading, we learn about the parable of the talents. According to the Mariam-Webster dictionary, parables are “a short story that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson”. There are several parables in the Bible including Parable of the Mustard Seed, The Good Samaritan, and The Prodigal Son. The parable today is all about a very rich man who had three servants. The rich man decided to give some of his money to each servant to hold for him while he went away on a trip. Now in those times, a “talent” either meant a lot of money or a scale that was used to measure the money. So as the parable goes, one servant got 5 bags of gold, one servant got 2 bags of gold and the last one received 1 bag of gold. The servant who got the 5 bags increased its size to another 5 bags of gold. The 2nd servant who got the 2 bags increased its size to another 2 bags of gold. But the 3rd servant who only got 1 bag just dug a hole and the 1 bag remained 1 bag. The rich man came back and was very pleased with the first 2 servants but not pleased with the 3rd servant. He rewarded the first 2 servants but not the 3rd one. In actuality when we look at the real meaning of the parable, the rich man is really God. The servants are all of us as part of the church and the kingdom of God. We need to make sure that we use the talents/gifts that we have been given. We should focus on God who is the giver of the gifts so we can gain more. Reflect on the positive and not the negative. Look at our possibilities and not our limitations. Which do you focus on? I try to be the positive one who always thinks there is a lesson to be learned in life’s journey. Although, some days it is difficult in the circumstances we live in now. Don’t waste the talents/gifts that you have been given. Life is short. What kind of talents/gifts have you been given? Is it teaching, healing, helping, creating, music, inspiring other people, or other things?
Ralph Milton discusses in his book, “Sermon Seasonings” about talents. He reflects on his boyhood and describes himself as being not very popular as a boy. His Dad was the school principal so that did not help him at all. He said “he seemed to grow too fast and they changed his nickname from Slug to Slim which made him the most awkward child in his town.” At thirteen years old, he decided to start writing stories and poems. He found that he loved to write, and his mother loved his stories. Ralph spent a lot of time in his room writing. He received high marks in English class in Grade 11. So, he now received the nickname “twerp” since “Nerd” was not in the vocabulary back then. He describes himself as having writing as his talent/gift. Quoting from his book, he tells a story about an old creation legend that the birds felt they’d been had when they looked at their wings. “What can you do with these things?” they asked God. “You can’t walk with them. You can’t pick things up. And they’re ugly and awkward to carry around.” “You can fly,” said God. “Fly? Waddya mean, fly?” What’s fly?” the birds demanded. “Spread them out as wide as you can. Way out wide. Now move them up and down. Harder. Now see, they lift you from the ground. You can fly!” “Whee!” chirped the birds. “We can fly! Look at us! We can fly! Thanks God! Thanks!”
If you have watched Forest Gump the movie you will remember he possessed a lot of talents in his lifetime: he was an athlete, a marine, ping pong player, fisherman, caregiver, husband, and father. this is a bit of humor to brighten your week
The day finally arrived: Forest Gump dies and goes to Heaven.
He is met at the Pearly Gates by Saint Peter himself.
The gates are closed, however, and Forest approaches the gatekeeper.
Saint Peter says, “Well, Forest, it’s certainly good to see you.
We have heard a lot about you.
I must inform you that the place is filling up fast,
and we’ve been administering an entrance examination for everyone.
The tests are fairly short, but you need to pass before you can get into Heaven.”
Forest responds, “It shore is good to be here Saint Peter.
I was looking forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exams.
Shore hope the test ain’t too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.”
Saint Peter goes on, “Yes, I know Forest.
But, the test I have for you is only three questions.
Here is the first: What days of the week begin with the letter ‘T’?
Second, how many seconds are there in a year?
Third, what is God’s name?”
Forest goes away to think the questions over.
He returns the next day and goes up to Saint Peter to try to answer the exam questions.
Saint Peter waves him up and asks,
“Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.”
Forest says, “Well, the first one, how many days of the week begin with the letter ‘T’?
Shucks, that one’s easy; that’d be Today and Tomorrow!”
The saint’s eyes open wide and he exclaims,
“Forest! That’s not what I was thinking, but… you do have a point though,
and I guess I didn’t specify, so I give you credit for that answer.”
“How about the next one” says Saint Peter, “how many seconds in a year?”
“Now that one’s harder,” says Forest.
“But, I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.”
Astounded, Saint Peter says, “Twelve! Twelve!
Forest, how in Heaven’s name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?”
Forest says, “Shucks, there gotta be twelve:
January second, February second, March second… ”
“Hold it,” interrupts Saint Peter. “I see where you’re going with it.
And I guess I see your point, though that wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
I’ll give you credit for that one too.”
“Let’s go on with the next and final question,” says Saint Peter,
“Can you tell me God’s name?”
Forest says, “Well shore, I know God’s name.
Everybody probly know it. It’s Andy Howard.”
“Andy Howard?” asks Saint Peter.
“What makes you think it’s ‘Andy Howard’?”
Forest answers, “It’s in the song and the prayer.”
“The song and the prayer?” asks Saint Peter,
“Which song and prayer?”
“Andy’s song”, responds Forest,
“Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me… “,
and The Lord’s Prayer,” responds Forest:
“Our Father, who art in heaven, Howard be thy name…”
God wants us to bless other people with our gifts and talents especially now in these difficult times. Think about how you could do it and help to lift someone else up especially if they are in their houses and not coming out much. We all need to try to stay positive and help each other. We need to show God that we are worthy to enter his Kingdom and using our talents/gifts wisely. Remain faithful and believe in the gifts that God has given to you. Try a smile and then continue from there. Blessings! Amen.
Go in peace; love and care for one another in Christ’s name, and may God bless you with every gift needful for His work. Amen.
I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy and I hope to see everyone soon.