1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
As I read and studied today’s gospel reading, I thought of EF Hutton…and who listens to who
The Parable of the Talents is about investing…that’s right, investing
And, it’s about listening…specifically, listening to God
Unlike many messages, where I try to tie the readings together, today you get laser focus
On this… “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.” from Matthew 25:29 (NRSV)
We’re doing layers today, just like Shrek and the onion
Starting with the second half of that quote…but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away…think about that statement for a minute
If you have nothing, how can anybody take nothing away?
Haven’t we all been there…with nothing?
How does it feel to have nothing? Miserable? Depressing? Low as low can be, right?
But this statement, said by none other than Jesus himself, says that we were wrong
Jesus says that we who self-assess that we have nothing, still have something that he will take away
Jesus, I got no house, no car, no food, no friends, no job, no money…what are you gonna take?
Cause in those desperate times, I have felt like I didn’t even have Jesus...right?
Well, in your depressed state, you obviously missed something…something important
Maybe, just maybe, that thing that will be taken away is not of this world
Think about this…God has NO use for your stuff…none
And if he did…since he gave it to you…he would either just snatch it up out of your hands
Or whip some up for himself…he is GOD!
So, if when you got nothing you really do have something…what could it be?
What is it that you may now realize that you DID have when you thought you had nothing?
I thought of a few things at this point of my writing: health, faith, love, God’s love, family, friends
Seems that there were more…and then my mind moved ahead to verse 30… “As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Now, when the “talent” was taken away, the slave was thrown into darkness…where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
No one wants to go to this place, right? We know where this is, right?
But…maybe we are headed there…how do we know? How can we tell?
Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s shift to working on the positive side of the ledger
Jesus spoke of those that have being given more so that they would have an abundance
I think that it is safe to say that each of us gathered here today have some things of value, right?
So now is the time to think…and to write them down
Go ahead…take a minute to write them down…don’t be shy…write all of the ones you can think of
I gave you plenty of space over on the bottom right of the bulletin…don’t be bashful or shy…
And if you think of more later, take a second and write those down, too
Hope that you have a nice list…cause when I think about what I have in abundance…
Well, let’s just say that I got happy!!!
And a bunch more that I didn’t think of while I was writing
That, my friends, is ABUNDANCE…
See, when I was down and out…and thought I had nothing…I did have something
I had a God who loved me even though I didn’t spend much time thinking about him loving me
“For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance…
Think about your list…when I look at my list, I see a bunch of things…
And most of those things I actually get more of the older I get…
So, what are we supposed to do with all of our abundance?
Surely The Bible gives us some guidance…
In Genesis 41, Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his brothers, had saved enough to bail his brothers out in the times of a great drought
2 Chronicles 31:5 tells us to give of the abundance of the first fruits
Proverbs 21:5 begins “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance…”
And then there is this… “Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21 (NRSV)
Abundance is step one of God’s plan…it is supposed to happen…it is no accident
We just need to get out of God’s way
Step 2 is outlined here… “but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 2 Corinthians 8:13b-14 (NRSV)
Our abundance is to serve those with needs…to love one another
So, who is it that needs what you have in abundance?