pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Talents to Work

Reading: Matthew 25: 14-30

Verse 25: “So I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground”.

Fear motivates at least the third slave.  He is fearful of losing the master’s money so he goes and buries it in the ground.  At least when the master returns he can give him what is his.  He is playing it safe.  He knows the master is harsh, so he avoids taking a risk.  When the master returns he punishes the third slave for playing it too safe.  The one talent he has is taken and given to the one with ten talents.  The third slave is thrown out into the darkness.

As Christians, does God expect us to take chances, to do some risky things for our faith?  I think He does.  At a minimum we are called to live out our faith.  In the simple way we live our lives, we should be sharing our faith with others.  This takes risks.  To offer fellowship to that co-worker who always seems to be alone takes on the risk of rejection.  To offer grace and forgiveness to that classmate who always wants to be first, usually hurting others to get there, takes on the risk of being hurt again.  To ask that person who seems to be in a rough spots takes on the risk of involvement and possibly relationship.  And these are just a few small risks that God expects us to take as ones who try and follow Christ’s example.  Each act, as a small seed planted, will one day bear fruit for the kingdom.

I believe God is also calling us to more than simply living out our faith.  God creates each of us uniquely, with special talents inside each of us.  Some are teachers, some are preachers, some are evangelists, …  God expects us to take these talents and to put these to work as well.  It usually involves stepping out of our comfort zones the first time or two.  Yet as we live into the call of God on our lives, we begin to see these actions bearing fruit as well.  God desires to be at work in and through us, allowing the light and love of Jesus to go forth into the world, bearing a crop 30, 60, or 100 times what was sown.  In both the small ways and in the big ways, may we each seek to use the talents that God has given us to build the kingdom here on earth.

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Following Along

In John 12 Jesus parallels our faith with that of a seed.  If a single seed remains sitting on the counter or in the package, then that is all it is.  In a similar way, if we just believe in God then that is all our faith is: just belief.

When the seed is placed in the soil though, it can produce much more.  But in order to produce a crop, the seed itself must die and grow into a plant.  The old is gone and the new goes on to produce a crop.  In a similar way, our old self must be given up so that our new self can grow to live our life for Christ instead of for self.

If we are willing to set aside self and to live for and with Christ, we too can bear much ‘fruit.’  And here too Jesus gives insight.  He tells the disciples and us that whoever serves Him, must follow Him.  Whoever follows must go where He goes.

Here Jesus is calling us past belief.  He is calling us to action: follow, serve, go.  In order to bear fruit in our lives, it requires us to put God and others ahead of ourselves.  This means we cannot ask “Go where?” or “Now?” or “With whom?”  Jesus ministered to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  If we are to follow, we must do the same.

Scripture reference: John 12: 20-26


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The Master Gardener

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Mary Magdelene mistook Jesus for a gardener.  In many ways Jesus was and is a gardener.

Jesus taught and continues to teach through stories, parables, examples, and healings.  Within each are little seeds that are planted in our hearts and minds.  Each time we read the Bible we glean insights from his words, often times a new insight from a passage we have read before.  One day these seeds will sprout.  In the meantime the gardener works the soil, tending to it so that one day it can nurture good growth.  The gardener continues to turn over our soil with His words, making us into the soil that will produce a crop.

As we grow, He prunes us as well, to shape us into the best disciple we can be.  Sometimes the gardener prunes off parts of us that hinder our growth as disciples, cutting off a little pride here, a little jealousy there, a bit of anger right there…  At other times He prunes to encourage growth in our faith lives.

All the while He is also teaching us how to garden.  Through His example and work in our lives, we come to understand how we can help others on their walk of faith.  We can share the stories from the Bible and from our own walks of faith.  We can tend the soil and encourage growth in those we know.  We can also prune when needed.  But the greatest lesson we learn from Jesus is to garden with love.  It is to produce growth and to encourage that the seeds produce a crop in our garden and in the gardens of those we meet along the way.  Happy gardening!!!