With Sam doing his man thing hanging out with the guys at deer camp, and Rachel having spent the night at Nana's last night (and me too battle weary to want to force her to get up and be ready) I went to church alone this morning. My preference is always to have my family beside me, but these occasional days when I attend worship by myself are a bit of a treat, too. (Shhh! Don't tell the kids.) I'm able to listen without distraction and focus on my own actions rather than always pointing out where we are in the hymns or coaxing tired kiddos to stand when appropriate.
As it turned out, this morning was the perfect time for me to be able to soak it all in because I really needed to hear the Gospel lesson for today.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 14-30 we read the parable of talents. In short, three slaves were given unequal portions of their master's money. While the master was away, two of the slaves increased what they were given and when the master returned he praised them for increasing his wealth. The third slave didn't fair so well.
"And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'" (v. 24-25)
Because the third did nothing with what he was given - except bury it - the master called him wicked and lazy, suggested he could have at least invested that money to earn some interest, and took back from the slave the little he had been given.
"For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (v. 29-30)
"Fear robbed him of his potential," our pastor said.
Fear robbed him of his potential.
Something to think about: what "talent" is planted in you? Are you allowing it to grow, or is fear causing you to bury it?
We as Christians are all blessed with the gift of faith. We are not all equally blessed with talents (or money or beauty or children or fill-in-the-blank). It is our responsibility to nurture the talent (or money, etc.) we are given to make it thrive and to honor God. So that when our Father does the final tally we can say, "See? You gave me this and I turned it into this."
And He will respond, "Well done, good and faithful servant."