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MATTHEW 25:14-30 ESV

“”For it will be like a man going on a journey, who 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 scattered no seed, 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 sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 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 everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

A couple of weeks ago we asked the question, “Who do you love?” The simple answer is, we love God. But once we’ve established that, we then ask the question, “What do you love?” Or better, what does God love? You see, once you love God, then you start to love the things that God loves. So, what does God love? Ultimately, us.

Everything that God has done has been for His glory. And it is God’s will to share that glory with the ones He made in His image. We were made for glory, but in order for glory to dwell within us, sin has to be removed. Their isn’t room for the sin of this world and the holiness of God. So, Jesus Christ has come to rescue us from a life where sin takes up all the space. The space in our lives was created by God, for God to dwell in. We are complete when we have God. Think of it like this: we are saved from sin and to glory. This is what God wants. He loves us, and everything He has done in Jesus Christ has been for us.

What God wants for those who understand His love is for them to participate with Him in His passion for saving others and revealing His glory and love to them. In short, God wants people to get it, to understand deep within their soul that they are loved and valued by God, meant to share His glory; they are saved for the purpose of experiencing real love for God and for others.

The Scripture text for today has a lot to say about understanding God’s love for ourselves and God’s love for others. But it also tells us what happens when we connect to God out of anything other than real love.

Jesus is talking about the kingdom of heaven, and in that talk He tells a parable of what people can expect from God. We learn from the story that God has employed each of us who love Him to use our gifts, whatever our abilities and capabilities. He recognizes that some people are good at this and others better at that. The point of it all is that we take the goodness God has given us, in whatever measure, and we invest it out of our love for Him.

God’s desire is to use our investment, therefore this is what we should want, too. A side question here is, “Am I using my gifts, no matter how big or small they may seem, for God to use?”

But what happens when our connection to God is based in something other than love? Our text reveals through the third servant that we can be connected to God through something other than love. For this person, it was fear. The servant knew God enough to understand what he was asking, but because of his fear of God, he cowered away from his responsibility. To God, this was unacceptable and the servant was held accountable for their disobedience. And what a consequence they received, being removed from the glory and presence of God.

When we love God and we love what God loves, we engage in a lifestyle and in activities that draw us closer to God. For servant 1 and servant 2, they engaged in the use of their gifts, what we often call ‘ministry’ in the Church, and they drew closer to God. They were rewarded for their engagement, for investing their lives and gifts for Him.

Side question: what things do you do that draw you closer to God and make your faith feel more alive?

Fear is a paralyzer, turning our love-driven faith-lives into statues of what could have been, rather than what God wants for us right now. During the storm, I was so proud of my girls, as they heard the news reports all weekend and constant conversation on whether or not the power would go out or we would have enough food. Its quite an eye-opening experience to hear mommies and daddies talking about trees falling on our homes and being stuck without much help.

On Monday, many businesses and churches closed down for the sake of safety and unknown concerns. It was smart and we still stand by that decision. But Monday afternoon, as the rain picked up and the wind blew harder, Laney and Maggie set up two chairs in front of the fireplace, one with a guitar and the other with a microphone. As they sat next to each other, picking the strings and singing into the mic, they were happy and at peace. And honestly, so was I. I stopped worrying about whether or not the storm would be bad and starting trusting that God was in this, regardless. The girls looked at me and said, “Look, Daddy. We’re playing ‘Sunday’.”

My girls chose to love God in the midst of the unknown. Worship is what they loved because it drew them closer to Who they love—God. Its so important that we understand that fear isn’t a genuine connection to God. Only love is a connection that invites glory into our lives.

If you are afraid today, we invite you to love God through giving your gifts in someway in order to connect to God. Let go of your fear and take hold of the gifts and blessings God has given you so that you can experience the glory of God in your soul. The Lord wants to light you up with life—His life, in you.

Who do you love? What do you love? Love God. Love the relationship He’s given you through Jesus. Let go of your fear. Take hold of His glory. Amen.

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