Christ the King (A)
"God has, in fact, entrusted everything that is God's into your hands;
God has taken everything that is God's -- or even associated with God -- and put it right smack dab into your hands as a trust ...
"To care for it ... to manage it ... to use it ... to administer it for God!
"What glory and honor God has given you; what dignity and power and opportunity God has given you ... entrusting you with the care and management and use and administration of everything that is God's."
One Incredible Trust
(We're Not Talking Peanuts Here)
Christ the King (A)
"For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.
"Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'
"He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'"
Wow! This is astounding! Absolutely astounding!
Here is a man who takes everything that he has and entrusts it to these servants of his.
Tell me, how many cases like this do you know? Can you think of even one?
And his only instruction to them is this: see what you can do with this while I'm gone; give it the best shot you've got, so that my hopes and my dreams and my desires and will for it can be realized.
I mean, this is something! The man takes everything that he has and turns it over in its entirety to his servants -- puts them in total charge of it. And we're not talking some "Mickey Mouse" operation here, either. This isn't peanuts we're dealing with here. "Five talents" and "two talents" and "one talent" don't sound like any big deal, perhaps. But in Jesus' day, eight talents is the equivalent of 120 years of wages!
Everything the man has worked for; everything the man has struggled to obtain; everything he's sweat over; all of his hopes and dreams ... he risks it -- all of it -- by putting it into the hands of these servants of his.
Tell me, could you do that? Be honest, now. Could you take everything you've worked for, everything you've struggled to obtain, all of your hopes and dreams, and risk it by putting it into the hands of some hired servants to manage it and take care of it and invest it and administer it for you? Could you? Everything? Your whole estate?
Do you want to hear something even more astounding and incredible? This isn't just a story about a man and his servants at all. That's right -- this is a real story -- the story of you and the relationship you have with the only true and living God.
This whole 25th chapter of Matthew's gospel beings with nine terribly significant words: "Now the kingdom of heaven is like this ... " And then come the stories, one of which is this story of the man and his servants -- or, more accurately, the story of how it is between you and the only true living God.
Let's get right into the exciting stuff. Right there at the beginning is this strong declaration that God has, in fact, entrusted everything that is God's into your hands. God has taken everything that is God's -- or even associated with God -- and put it right smack dab into your hands as a trust ...
To care for it ... to manage it ... to use it ... to administer it for God!
Holy mackerel! Doesn't that just blow your mind?
How absolutely astounding -- that God has that kind of confidence and trust in you!
What glory and honor God has given you; what dignity and power and opportunity God has given you ... entrusting you with the care and management and use and administration of everything that is God's.
You're not sure you really believe this, are you? You're not sure that is really the case at all, are you?
O.K. Come with me, then; back to the beginning -- the very beginning ... to the very start of things ... when God first created.
You remember the story ... Genesis 1 and 2: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth ... and then God created light ... and God made the sun and moon and stars ... and God separated the waters from the waters, and the dry land appears. And with that comes all kinds of vegetation, all kinds of trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables, lawns to mow and fish and birds and all kinds of land creatures.
And, then, you remember, God made us -- you and me, male and female -- in God's own image, after God's own likeness.
And listen ... oh, listen ... not only to what God says to these human beings, but to what God says about them, as well: "Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every living thing that walks upon the face of the earth." Oh, hear that! Hear it well!
God the Creator ... after God had made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, God stepped back and surveyed this marvelous, magnificent work that he had done, and God then rendered his verdict: "It is very good."
And then God took that entire marvelous and wonderful and majestic creation of his and entrusted it to your hands and mine, to manage it and care for it and use it and administer it -- all of it ... all of it, so that God's hopes and dreams and desires for it may be realized.
Glorious, wouldn't you say? Awesome! Agreed? But true, true -- every bit of it -- true.
Now you may want to catch your breath for a minute -- because there's more! That's right -- more! And it's every bit as exciting, every bit as glorious as what you've already heard. Because if you go back to the very beginning of this parable, it states very clearly and emphatically that the man entrusted his entire estate into the hands of his servants -- his entire estate, everything that was his. And remember -- this isn't just some cutesy little story Jesus is telling to entertain folks. This is the real life story of the situation and relationship that exists between you and the only, true living God.
Anytime we talk about God's "everything" or God's "entire estate," we are face-to-face with what you and I sometimes refer to as "God's eternal plan." That God has this burning passion, this heart's desire, that all people should be God's very own children through Jesus Christ, that every person -- everywhere -- should know the life, the love, the forgiveness, the hope, the victory that can only be known in and through Jesus Christ. Well, that's part of the trust God has placed in your hands, also.
Please ... don't take my word for that. Listen to St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and following: "If anyone is in Christ, that person is a whole new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation."
Now hang on -- here comes the zinger!
"So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. Isn't that something?
God has this burning passion, this heart's desire, that all people should be God's very own children through Jesus Christ. And God chooses and calls you and me -- by name -- to work with him, and with one another, so that God's will and purpose may become a reality! What an honor God bestows upon you and me! What a dignity God gives to you and to me!
And what a profound responsibility! An overwhelming responsibility! It is an impossible responsibility, right?
W R O N G ! Wrong!
Anytime God calls, God equips. Anytime God sends, God empowers. And anytime God gives a task, a mission or a responsibility, God gives every resource needed to carry it out. Don't miss that in this parable.
You bet your boots it was a tremendous responsibility this man gave his servants; but when he gave it, he also gave them everything they would need to carry out that responsibility -- including his name and the influence and power his name had in that community. And that is exactly how it is with us. This tremendous responsibility and mission God has given us , God has given to us every resource we need to carry out that responsibility and mission.
God has given us "the message of reconciliation" -- the Gospel -- that good new of God's love in Christ, that has the power to do the very things it proclaims -- reconcile, forgive, save, deliver, free.
God has given us His Holy Spirit, who "gifts" us and empowers us and enables us for our ministry. God has given us our very lives, our time, our possessions -- every resource we could possible need -- including his name, and the power of that name. God has given, and in more than adequate measure.
Now you may want to think about that for a minute because that has some real implications to it. If it is true -- and it is true -- that God has given us everything we could possibly need to carry out this calling and mission God has given us, then it isn't a question, at all, or whether or not we are able. We are able, because God himself has enabled us.
But you see what that means, don't you? It is entirely a matter of whether or not we are willing, entirely a matter of whether we are willing to be faithful and obedient to this calling and this mission we have been given by God.
And you are willing ... you are willing, aren't you?
If -- indeed -- this people who are gathered in this place and at this time; if -- indeed you are willing to be faithful and obedient to this calling and mission you have received from God, then let this people say, "amen."
For more sermons by George Hayes, click on
First You'd Better Buy a Semi and Eight Other Stewardship Sermons
Ordained in 1951, George Haynes is a mission developer for Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rockport, Texas. He is an ELCA Stewardship key leader.