+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – Matthew 25:1-30 (NLT)
Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Parable of the Three Servants
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
“The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
use well what you are given
He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone…
dividing it in proportion to their abilities.
– Matthew 25:14-15 –
Faithfulness, as Jesus illustrates in the story of the three servants, involves using what God has entrusted us to advance His interests in the world.
The teaching points include –
+ All that we are given are gracious gifts of God, distributed according to the abilities he has given us.
+ The gifts God has given us are a kind of working capital to use for his glory.
+ Faithfulness involves taking some prudent risks; fear of doing something wrong stifles our potential.
+ The greater our gifts and abilities, the greater our risk, and the greater our responsibility.
Questions for consideration:
- How would you assess the gifts that God has entrusted to you? Think in broad terms, e.g.spiritual gifts, natural abilities, the gospel, opportunities for service, money, community, ethnicity – all that things that make you uniquely you. Please explain.
- Can you think of ways that you have used some of these gifts to glorify God and advance his Kingdom purposes? Please explain.
- When you consider the gifts that God has entrusted to you, do you think you have lived up to your potential? Why / why not?
- Where do you need to risk stepping out in faith in order to glorify God and advance his Kingdom purposes? Please explain.
Morning Prayer: For the potential You have given us –
+ For the potential You see in us and the possibilities that lie ahead:
Christ be before us.
+ For our plans and their fulfillment, for Your promises and their unfolding:
Christ be before us.
+ In the problems that beset us and the perils that ensnare us:
Christ be before us.
+ Be around us, above us, and beneath us.
On Your path, O my God and not my own,
be all my journeying.
Rule this heart of mine that it be only Yours.
“Rule In My Heart” – Beth Croft
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen