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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sermon 11132011

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Jesus Christ, we the body of Christ today have not been entrusted with money like in our lesson.  But You have entrusted us with the responsibility to use our individual gifts, talents and treasure to build Your Kingdom here in Emmanuel Lutheran Church.  Enable us to use what you have given us, whether our voices, hands, heads, treasure or talents and not bury them.  Continue to bless our ministry through the work of the Holy Spirit through each of us, so when You come to gather us into Your Eternal Kingdom, we will be welcomed and not thrown into the outer darkness separated from You where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For Your promise is clear to us, as good and faithful servants You have enabled us and given each of us the gift of Eternal life for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

There was once a famous football player who was a great quarterback.  He could throw the football with precision, accuracy and speed that would amaze commentators and linesmen and thread the needle so even the most closely covered receiver would be left shaking their head when the ball arrived in the exact right spot 60 yards down the field. Yet this great quarterback also had a young son who not only loved the game of football, but adored his father, would travel with the team to games, use the locker room and sidelines as playrooms and thoroughly enjoyed playing catch with his father after a game or on the front lawn of their house.

One day a reporter after seeing this father play catch with his son asked this quarterback, with all of the raw power you have with that throwing arm, how can you insure you will not throw the ball and potentially kill your son?  The quarterback thought long and hard for a moment and said, yes, I have the power, potential and am paid to throw that football with speed and accuracy to guys ten times his size, but with my son it is different.  I consciously choose not to use my ability when playing catch with my son.  With every throw I make to him, I choose not to throw as hard as I can, because I know what the results and ramifications could be to my son.

In this mornings Gospel, we hear about a rich landowner who has given a great sum of money to three slaves for while he is gone for them to take care of his property.  As we know each slave, whether given, five, three or one talent is expected to use it to the best of his ability.  Each of the slaves in turn chooses what to do with the money given them.  Something to note here, when I heard this story as a child, my understanding was that the talents were just coins, similar to what I would receive as allowance or from the tooth fairy.  Some of you may have this same perception, but an individual talent is actually a large sum of money.  An individual gold talent weighed about 75 lbs.  So in today’s money we are talking a little less than 2 million dollars.  Let me say that again, a little less than 2 million dollars.

So these slaves of their master are given a small fortune.  Just as the quarterback in playing catch with his son, chose to not use his talent and bring harm to his son, the last slave, chooses how he would use the money.  He chose to take the talent, the small fortune and bury it, so it could be returned to the master upon his return.  The judgment Jesus proclaims in the story seems harsh and uncaring.  Jesus says, “Take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents.  For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”

Simply, with the talent given to this slave and which the Master saw in him, he chose not to even invest his master’s money.  Are we any different?  Is this slave a metaphor for us how we rationalize away the gifts, abilities and even the money God has entrusted to us, whether in our salary, bonuses or even the benefit of the wheat or corn harvest just finished this past week?  Do we hide it in the ground, spend it on simple ‘pleasures of the flesh’ or ‘worldly possessions’ and wait for the coming of our Master?

Clearly, the slave Jesus speaks of reaped what he buried in the ground.  For Jesus says, “As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  The outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth is a metaphor for separation from the Master.  In one sense, this metaphor speaks of the eschatological aspect or end times that we are preparing for now.  You see next week is the end of the liturgical church year and the lessons we have heard for the last few weeks are in preparation for the end of the church year.  So today’s lesson about the talent given to the slave and the Master returning is for our benefit for us to ask ourselves, what have we done with what God has given us?  And are we prepared for how we will be judged with what we have done with God’s gifts to us?

This morning God has baptized Barrett Joseph Williams and all of us have been entrusted and promised as the body of Christ to lead, model and use our God given talents, treasure and  skills to help Kayla raise him.  We are called as the body of Christ to share in the priesthood of all believers with Barrett and use our collective talents for the Glory of God. 

Therefore, I ask you now to rededicate yourselves today to the building of God’s kingdom, the proclamation of His Gospel of forgiveness through Jesus Christ death on the Cross and daily walking with God.  In making this commitment the Holy Spirit will use  our individual God given gifts to not only build the Body of Christ we call the church, but enable all of us to model for Barrett and everyone we meet how God’s gifts given to us have not been buried waiting for our Master’s return.  Our commitment does not earn our ticket to heaven, but will yield gifts beyond measure and God will use each of us each and every day as and for all the Saints of Emmanuel Lutheran Church.  AMEN.
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