Children’s, Youth & Family Ministries
Nov 16, 2014 (Pentecost 23)
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability.”
We are nearing the end of the liturgical year (Advent begins on Nov 30) and the weekly gospel readings are parables about “the end time,” i.e., the event in the unforeseen future when the boundary between heaven and earth will disappear, and God’s reign will be perfectly manifest forever. To the faithful, this sounds amazing and wonderful – until you learn that it will also be a time of judgment. At the “end time,” Jesus will be overseeing a cosmic sorting process.
I don’t like these parables very much. In each of them, some group gets left out of the Kingdom. Last week it was the bridesmaids who didn’t have enough oil in their lamps. This week, it’s the servant who buries the money his master gives him. And next week, it’s everyone who ignores severe human need when they see it. True, these folks didn’t measure up, but I worry because, at times, they look a lot like me.
In A. N. Mirinov’s painting (above) you see the servant who has been given one of his master’s coins to take care of while the master is away. I like this image a lot. In the interplay of light and darkness created by his lantern, he looks at the coin – called a “talent” – and seems to be pondering, “What in God’s name should I do with this?”
What an important question for all of us to ask ourselves. How should we be using all that God has given us?
What is God entrusting to you? Do you want these gifts? What are you doing with them? What do they reveal about God, and how God feels about you? Are you thanking God, or do your prayers have a different focus? What help do you need to be a trustworthy steward of God’s gifts? Where can you turn for support? And how are you helping your children understand all of this? These are hard questions, I know.
Becky Taylor, Director of Children’s, Youth & Family Ministries