Using our Talents in God’s Kingdom

2020-11-15 – Year A – Proper 28 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-12; Matthew 25:14-30

  • Puppies growing. We can reliably expect growth, It is what they do. 

Parable of the Talents

  • Matthew 25:14 – sets up the story. This is not just “a man” but a very wealthy man. He is not turning over pocket change to his servants!
    • A talent was approximately 20 years of wages for a laborer. He gives the servants 5 talents, 2 talents, and 1 talent respectively.
    • The closest comparison we could make today would be a financial advisor with a financial power of attorney.
    • These men are “stewards” managing assents on behalf of the master.
    • The implied intent of turning over these vast resources is for the money to be managed in a way that it will grow.
  • Differing views of the master
    • Two servants seem honored by the master’s trust and eager to manage the resources well.
    • One servant fears the master and is afraid of taking any risks.
    • Do you view God as a cruel taskmaster or a loving father?
  • A parable is a short, simple story that usually makes a single point.
    • “…the central point of the parable concerns the importance of being a faithful servant of all that God has entrusted to one’s care.”
  • We are called to be missional stewards of God’s resources, be it time, talent, or treasure.
    • God has entrusted each of us with resources that he expects us to use for his glory and the expansion of his kingdom.
    • Today I want to focus on the “talent” aspect of stewardship.
      • Not a kind of money, but what you are good at: Gifts and talents.
      • How can you use these gifts and talents in the service of God’s kingdom?
    • “Using one’s God-given abilities wisely and productively is a vital aspect of discipleship and will be rewarded with additional opportunities to serve God faithfully and fruitfully.”
    • What are you doing with what God has given you?

Using our Talents to Serve One Another in the Church

  • I have been promoting groups a lot recently. Groups are a great way to grow in our love for God and for one another. My hope is that eventually every member of this church will be involved in a group.
  • My other hope is that every member of the church will serve on a team.
    • Teams are things like the Altar Guild, the Tech Team, the Food Giveaway, the building and grounds crew, the music ministry, and many more.
    • The ministries and operations of this church could not function without volunteers.
  • 1 Peter 4:8-10 – Serve one another as stewards of God’s varied grace.
    • These verses have both a corporate and a personal dimension.
    • vv. 10-11 Is about using our gifts to serve in church ministry
    • vv. 8-9 is about love and hospitality
  • God has put us together, as a congregation, to use our gifts to serve.
    • Every single one of you has spiritual gifts. These gifts are meant to be used for God’s glory (1 Peter 4:11).
    • None of us has all of the gifts. Like pieces of a puzzle we all have an important contribution to make to the whole.
    • Do you believe that you have gifts? What are your gifts? Do you know?

Using our Talents to Love our Neighbors

  • As a church, loving and serving one another is important, but we don’t want to become inward, serving only ourselves. This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why churches start to decline and sometimes even die.
    • Our church vision intentionally focuses us outward.
    • Loving our neighbors and helping them to find God, love God, and share God.
  • Just as we need to use our gifts and talents inside the church, we also need to use them to serve those who are outside the church and draw them into God’s kingdom.
  • This year has been hard for our corporate outreach efforts! We have had to cancel all of our normal outreach events.
  • Pray and Go
    • Not an event but an ongoing strategy.
    • Based on a common pattern found in the book of Acts: praying and then going.
    • We will send people out into the neighborhoods around the church in teams of 2-3. You will pray before you go, and pray as you go.
    • Thom Rainer, has said “The address of your church is not an accident.”
      • God had put us here to go and be his witnesses in our community.
    • We will pray for each house on a street, and then hang a note on their doorknob to let them know that we prayed for their house.
      • If this is starting to make you nervous, relax. One pastor describes the ministry this way: “You don’t have to knock and talk, just pray and walk.”
    • Anyone can do this. It is non-threatening both to the prayer walker and to the houses that receive prayer.
    • The commitment is 45-60 minutes, no more than once per month.
    • We will start the first Sunday of Advent in two weeks!

Don’t Bury Your Talents in the Ground

  • Do you remember what the last servant did with the talent that the master gave him? He buried it in the ground.
  • God has given gifts and talents to every one of you. Don’t waste your gifts, use them for the glory of God!

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