Here is today's message based on Matthew 25: 14-30

Do you live by faith or would you rather play it safe?
Which approach controls how you live your life?
Which of those dictates how we make the decisions we choose each day?
Do we act with faith that is anchored in confidence for God’s good outcomes?
Or, do we act from fear or refuse to act because of potential bad consequences?

That’s the subject that underlies the parable of Jesus we heard this morning.
Its the story of three guys given something of value and then what they decided to do.

A ‘talent’ is a measure of wealth, like a sum of money.
So, in the story, the guy who was given the most talents decided to put that to work.
He made deals with what he had and, in the end, he gained more for the master.
The second guy was given less, but still he did the same kind of thing - same result.
But the last guy who was given only one talent,….buried it to keep it safe.
Because he hid his talent, it yielded nothing more than what he was originally given.

Some might say the last guy was the wisest because he made sure nothing was lost.
By burying or hiding his talent, he was certain the master would at least get that back.
While the other two risked losing what they had, he kept his safe and secure.
But is life,…. and what God wants from our lives,….. all about keeping safe?

In our lives we have been given things to us by God.
We could say that we’ve been given ‘talents’ in the wealth that we have.
Or, we could also say that a ‘talent’ is like what we think of as ‘talent’; a skill or ability.
But whether an ability or attribute or a measure of wealth, Jesus says we’ve all been given such things by God. 

The point of Jesus parable is what we have been given by God is not to be buried.
When we just play it safe, we limit what good might come from what we’ve been given.
If all we do in life is ‘play it safe’ and hide what we have, then nothing improves.
Not us, nor do the things and the world and the people around us, benefit.

If Martin Luther lived in fear instead of faith and played it safe with his talents, then we’d have had no Reformation and you’d all be following the dictates of the Pope.
If leaders like Churchill and FDR lived in fear instead of faith and kept their talents buried, what would the world have turned out to be like if the axis powers prevailed?
If Madame Curry and Dorothea Dix and Mother Theresa lived in fear instead of faith and kept their talents hidden, how many more people would have suffered or died?
You get the idea, right?

We too in life have been given much from God, the master.
As far as wealth, just like in the story some, admittedly, have more than others.
In terms of skills and abilities, again some have more than others but all have some.
And, as it says in 1st Corinthians, we all have been various gifts or talents.
But, in general, we all have been given the gift of our very lives and life itself.

The question with all of these is, what do we do with what we have been given?
Do we live in faith or play it safe?
Do we take the risk and put to use what God has given us or keep it buried?

Do we put to use our material wealth and share it with those in need?
Risking that it might be wasted,… or living in faith that it will help some?
Do we put to use our talents and abilities to help make the world a better place?
Risking that we might be rejected,… or confident that God will bring good out of it?
Do we put to use the gifts of what we have learned from God and Jesus?
Risking that such things might be refuted or scoffed at,….or trusting they will prevail?

Every day we have choices that we can make that reflect either our faith or fears.
Jesus tells us to choose faith and to live that way, for our own good and for God.
Because, when we take risks with what we have, in the long run we will be like the two guys who put their talents to work and enhanced what their master first gave them.

One last thing…..
Some of us are at the age where we have already put to work our wealth and abilities throughout the years, through church and in our everyday lives.
We have not been afraid to risk out talents and use them for God’s good work.
So if that’s the case with you, all well and good,….but your work is not done.

That’s because around you and within your lives are other people who may be afraid.
They may be children or grandchildren or friends and acquaintances of ours.
People who we know could do a better job of putting their gifts to work for God.
So the risk for us then is,…..to tell them and remind them to not be afraid.

Not to be afraid to put to work the wealth that they’ve been given by God.
Not to be afraid to put to work their skills and abilities and time given by God.
Not to be afraid to put to work the wisdom they’ve been given by God.

So, even if we do put the gifts of God we have to work already, let us not to be afraid to speak up to others when we see them wasting or hiding or refusing to risk their gifts.
To encourage them to have faith to put to work what they have and not live in fear.
After all,…in the end, we live in faith and not fear that God will take care of our whole lives and our future.

Amen