“The Parable of the Talents”
Rev Aled Edwards
Brief Sermon Notes
Reading – Matthew 25: 14-30
These are difficult days. Our world is being ravaged by a deadly pandemic. Global politics have also been turbulent with some countries responding well to Covid-19 and others not. None of us have been able to avoid the turbulence caused by how Donald Trump does politics. The American elections have been in our thoughts and prayers. President Trump has appalled many Christians: he has gained the loyalty and adoration of others. Such divisions have made us question what makes someone a Christian.
It’s tempting to view this reading as an encouragement to be courageous and industrious. Apparently, we are blessed if we are hard-working and fruitful. If we fail to bear fruit it seems the God will throw us outside into darkness. Is that what we are to glean from this parable?
Over forty years ago, at the start of my ministry, I was encouraged to read the commentary of an Asian Scholar, C.S. Song in his Third Eye Theology, who explored the Lukan equivalent of this parable. Song took the narrative into a political setting. Jesus is on a journey to the cross engaging with various expressions of political power. There is a bluntness to how Luke handles the politics of the narrative. The man who entrusts his investment to three servants seeks to be a king. His loyal servants are rewarded not with wealth but with cities. Luke speaks vividly of politics. Matthew does not.
Perhaps the question that should be asked in the wake of this parable is to what extent we should be complicit with tyrants and those who abuse power? Perhaps, strangely, the hero of the story is the man who refuses to be complicit with corrupt power. The man who refuses to add to the resources of the man who would be king. Christianity has a long legacy of brave men and women, saints, who have paid the price of not being complicit with the abuse of power.
For those who believe that the nature of power is the ability of A to do to B what B cannot do to the Gospel offers much more. If that is the nature of our political engagement, inevitably to those who have, more will be given. To those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. This, sadly, is the characteristic of how our world does politics. Jesus knew this in his own age.
Jesus looks not to gaining more power but to the transformation of power. For Christians, the cross is the power of God: a stumbling block to some and a foolishness to others. To those who believe: the power of God.
Prayers of Intercession
We give what we have. We bring who we are. Knowing that it can never be perfect and never enough. Yet We bring our talents. The gifts You have given us. The people You have made us. Knowing that You accept us and love us.
Use our lives and our living to build Your people. Use Your people to build a better world Use this world to show the beauty of life with You. When we get complacent or downhearted teach us to count our blessings. When we count our blessings, teach us to pray for those who need Your blessing.
Lord God – we give you thanks for all your gifts to us – for daily food – for health – for each breath we take – for freedom to choose – and for the gifts of your word, your power, and your love. Our hearts are truly overwhelmed, O God, when we consider all that you are and how you have entrusted so much to us. May we be worthy of that trust – may we be a people who are unafraid to live as fully and as richly as you want us to live…. Lord hear our prayer….
Help us O God, as followers of Jesus, to multiply all that you given us, to risk spreading your word and perhaps see it misunderstood, to gamble by loving those whom others think worthy only of hate, to take chances by doing good to those who have not done good to us. Help us be faith filled and to desire to
increase your glory and your goodness in this world. Make us ones who share in both word and deed that which you have given to us. Lord hear our prayer….
We pray, O God, for the church here today – that it may encourage all its members to discover, develop, and use all their gifts, those of nature and those of grace… Lord hear our prayer…
A time to bring community concerns.
Now gathered together as the community of God’s people, not alone, but united we say the prayer that Jesus taught us in whichever language and version we choose, saying,
Our Father/Ein tad…
Part of our prayer was written by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild, and posted on his Kir-Shalom website.
Go forth and tell, O Church of God awake!