Talented Talents

Gate Pa 16th November 2014
Pentecost 23, 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Psalm                          Psalm 123                                                                  
First Reading:             Judges 4:1-7
Second Reading:        1 Thess 5:1-11                        
Gospel:                        Matthew 25:14-30                

What I want to say:
Suggest the point of Christianity is living in presence of God rather than getting to heaven – and that the Way of Christ provides a guide as to how one might look for, live in, and respond to the presence of God now.
Then use that to explore three ways of reading the parable of the Talents.

What I want to happen:
People to think about how they live in the presence of God.

The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

Parable talents
well known
ask you what about – sure you can tell me
common reading of this story
about Kingdom of God
and us using our talents in the kingdom
I think said something similar on Tuesday
wee nagging doubt
partly Lord in this story is not nice
whole casting out darkness isn’t very friendly – talked about that
partly learning nothing is ever that simple is it?

     2.     Alternative readings

two additional ways understanding this parable offered in commentaries I read.
First is amendment to what we all thought
            need allow generosity of God to flow through us
kind of like using our gifts and talents
less about what we offer and more about what God offers through us.

second radically different
takes into account few features of story that we might ignore in our common understanding
what would those listening have heard?
            first of these is that Lord in this story is not nice
            (not nice in Lukes version either)
If honest
            this is not really Lord I would want to use my gifts and talents for.
Second is take note what talent really is
Luke's version of the parable is in 19:12-27.
There each servant is given 10 minas or 10 pounds.
            A mina was worth about 100 denarii and a denarius about a day's living wage.
            so each person given about 1,000 denarii, or 1,000 time daily wage (#3 years pay)
Only Matthew's version speaks of talents.
            A talent was around 6000 denarii. – 6,000 x daily wage ($900,000 on living wage)
            So the first servant was given 30,000 denarii. That is a hefty sum!
                        ($4.5 million, 2.7, .9)
we live world banks and imaginary money in stocks and such
heard this amazing wealth in terms of land
coloured by fact they now landless
mindful that:
             when the twelve tribes entered the Promised Land, the "promise" was that every family would receive and hold a share of that land - FOREVER.
            against the law of Moses to charge interest.
heard story about Lord who had gotten rich by stealing land that rightly belonged to others.
which servant/slave would they have approved of?
            third slave
            acts honourably
            does not participated in ongoing theft land
            does not loose masters money
So what does this story mean then?
all depends on how we understand the first few words
“"For it is as if a man”
It – usually understood to refer to verse one –“The kingdom of heaven will be like this” – Jesus uses start story about 10 bridesmaids/virgins
            maybe referring to the end that story – “Therefore you must be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
How must we be ready?
by being like third slave and not taking part in economic system that deprives so many others of their land, their way of life.
living instead in presence of God now
guided by way Jesus
            in what taught
            how he lived
filled with God’s generosity and compassion and justice

     3.     Conclusion

three different ways reading this parable
leave it to you decide which works for you
what ever you choose
invite you start by understanding that this story helps us live in the presence of God now
How does this story guide us to live in this presence?


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