You Are More Talented than You Know
#YouAreMoreTalentedThanYouKnow is the podcast for November 19, 2017. We often think that the parable of the “talents” is leaving a few coins with the workers and gain a small sum at the market. WHOA NO! Find out exactly how much money was left with the “servants” and how much they made in return to the “Master”. Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone.#Matthew25 #Millions #ChildrensMinistries #FreeClinic #Ministries #YouHaveALotToGive
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For The Church of Saint Raphael the Archangel, Munster, IN and My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 11/19/2017 The 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 25:14-30.
What could we do [as] in a church, if we were given $538,140? Just think about it. What could be done with that kind of money? Building projects, ministries, a food pantry, an entrepreneurial workshop ministry, a visitation to the prison ministry, children’s ministry, advertising of the church to the larger community, hiring staff, creating a music program, almost anything you could think of could be done if [we] you had a half a million dollars given to us in our own church(es). At a minimum, we could put it in the bank at 1.25% interest in a savings account and make $6,700 on it per year. Or, we could put it in a six month CD at 3% and make $16,100.
What if we were given $1,070,000? We could create regional ministries and equip an ongoing disaster relief mission team ministry. We could create a hospice training ministry or a pastoral care training ministry. We could have whopping summer childrens ministry programs, with paid staff what they were really worth. The interest would be double, so $13,400 in a savings account and $32,200 roughly for the 6 mo. CD.
What if we were given $2.69 million? Our churches could create neighborhood health clinics, literacy programs for the poor, etc. It is amazing what we could do, right?
Well, those are the modern day equivalents of the amounts of money that were given to the servants in the parable that Jesus tells in the Gospel for today. Remember, parables are not allegories. They do not match up item for item, but teach overall lessons. Also, in Jesus’ day there were literary forms. We have these kinds of forms in television today. If I said, you know what a sitcom is, or a romcom, or a docudrama, or action/adventure film are, you would know right away the formula of the TV show or movie, right? Well, the same thing existed in Jesus’ day.
This type of story, three people with these very large sums of money, would be told in Jesus’ day with two people who failed and one person who succeeded. They are usually in competition with each other and we are left feeling great with a winner who shows us the way. Jesus’ takes this story type in the parable and flips it on its head. He has everyone given very large sums of money.
One talent was 15 years the average per capita wage. The mission of the whole operation was to make money. It was a financial enterprise. The first two people who are given the money invest it in ventures that make money. Do not be fooled, they could have lost everything, but they understood that the idea was to make money for the Master, or owner. What Jesus does differently is to use these two to say that everyone has the ability to use the bountiful gifts of the owner to do more with what their ability allows.
So, when the owner leaves, they all get to work, except for the one guy who doesn’t see the possibilities of what can be done with the money. He just sees the possibility of losing everything and getting into trouble for losing the money. He goes and buries a half a million dollars in the back yard because he doesn’t see what he could do with the seed money. Does that change the story a little for you? We are not talking about one coin buried in the back yard. We are talking about a fortune wasted.
What we need to see here is that God is one who gives all of us a fortune. We are given spirituality and faith so that we can increase the glory of God. Our usual mistakes are that we think either we don’t have any ability, when we do, or we think that the spirituality we were given is some kind of self-help psychological cure to living in a modern society. The gifts that the Father gives us are much deeper than that. They are more abundant than that.
A half a million is the low end of what was given. The other two were given a little over $1 million and nearly $2.7 million. These two saw the possibilities. They went out and honestly created wealth for others that then created wealth for the owner. When the owner returned, these two had doubled the investment. Now they had a little over $2 million and nearly $5 million. These guys made money by doing something with it. In the end, they were rewarded by entering into the joy of their master.
Here are the quick and easy lessons from this parable.
- The Father is a Father of abundance. He gives us life, even the poorest of life, is a tremendous gift. Just think of what humans can do that animals cannot. It is staggering. It is such a gift to be a human being. Then, on top of it, we have tremendous talents that can do many things: build buildings, write songs, operas, symphonies; build transportation, create the internet, modify the DNA to cure diseases. He has given us tremendous abilities, but one ability we all can master is that of loving others. If we are (a) communit(y)ies of loving people, we can double our loving and return it to God.
- The more we give spiritually, lovingly, the more it increases. When we horde our love, keep it only for those in our group, only those we think deserve it, we create division, dissension, anger, and violence. Small churches in particular mistake glitz and coffee bars for being a truly loving community. If we, no matter the size of our church, do all we can to love others outside the walls of our church family, we will increase and return to the Father much more than he gave us in love. The warning in the passage today, was to the children of the chosen people who saw the gift of being the chosen people as a sign of status before God instead of service on behalf of God. We must not repeat the same mistake.
- There is a mission that is to be accomplished. People need love. I ministered in the park all summer and the number one thing people were shocked by was that I loved them, enjoyed them, listened to them, cried with them, rejoiced with them, loved their dogs, their quirks, their talents. [You standing here before me are a testimony to the love of God]. God’s mission is to bring people into the fold of love. We are to be out and about letting people, especially people who do not go to church, know that God loves them just the way they are, but then has a mission for them to accomplish. The mission: to love him and love others.
- Each one of us is given a fortune in spiritual goods. We are given love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, generosity, and self-control. These are about the quality of life we live. They do not take money. But make no mistake, just like it takes money to make money, it takes faith to inspire faith. As much as we trust that the Lord is the giver of good gifts and provisions us to do great things in his name, that is the proportion to how much we will be able to return to him on the judgment day. On that day, the judgment will be joy, rejoicing at the bounty of the harvest.
The message is an easy one: when we follow Christ, our efforts are to others, not ourselves. We are to love the world as the Father has loved us by sending his Son to die for our sins so that we could live forever.
You have talents friend(s). Use them. Do not be afraid. Use them. When you do, they will grow and you will rejoice with God. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2017.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian