November 14 – November 20, 2017

WORD

14“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.  Then he went away.  16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents.  17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents.  18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.  19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.  20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’  21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’  22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’  23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’  24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’  26But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave!  You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter?  27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.  28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents.  29For 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.  30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Matthew 25:14-30

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

I love birds and one of my favorite birds is the ostrich.  Look at how beautiful the ostriches are in the picture above!  But my fine feathered friends have gotten a bad reputation.  The myth has been spread around that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to “hide” when trouble presents itself.  It is an unflattering image of the ostrich, presumably pointing to a lack of intellect – if I can’t see the threat, then it must not be able to see me!  But it is just not true.  Ostriches do bury their eggs and stick their heads in the underground nests periodically to check on and turn the eggs.  However, this has nothing to do with a dimwitted attempt at finding personal safety.

Eventually those underground eggs hatch and the little ostriches make their way up onto the land.  Those eggs are a great treasure, but they cannot stay underground forever, or else the little chicks would never thrive.  Jesus tells a parable in our passage from Matthew 25 that teaches us how to thrive.  And it starts with learning not to bury the treasures of our soul (our proverbial head) in the sand.

God has filled our lives with many treasures (see what Paul has to say in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7).  These treasures include forgiveness, grace, mercy, compassion, anointing, etc.  These treasures help us to thrive – but only when we share them and do not hoard them.  Burying these God-given gifts in the sand, so to speak, where no one can see them or benefit from them is antithetical to God’s purposes.  We must nurture these gifts and allow them to “hatch” into blessings for others.

What has God given you to share?  Are you actively sharing it or busy trying to hide it away?  If so, what fuels your desire to hide your gifts – fear, embarrassment, self-indulgence?  Allow your God-given giftedness to shine within you and through you, so that others might see what God can do for and in them.

 

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them.

God has entrusted each one of us with many blessings over which we are stewards – people, land, jobs, relationships, responsibilities, resources.  Pray for guidance this week in how you might be a good and faithful steward of all that God has given you.  Consider in your prayers how you might glorify God in the way you relate to these blessings.  Ask for wisdom in discerning both (1) how to work for the good of all the people whose lives and love you have been entrusted with and (2) how to glorify God with how you manage and employ all of the inanimate blessings in your life.  Everything you have and everyone you love belong to God – treat them accordingly.

Meditation Focus: His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.

Our hope is to hear these words from our Lord Jesus Christ when our lives on earth are complete and we prepare to enter into the glory of the resurrection.  This week, imagine yourself standing before Christ and hear him speak these words to you.  Notice the joy on his face as he invites you into his eternal presence.  What about your life has been good?  What about your life could be defined as faithful?  How have you been a servant of God?  In what ways have you proven trustworthy?  What must you do in your life now and in the future for these words to be spoken truly of you?  Hear Christ Jesus speak these words over you throughout the week and allow him to lead you into goodness, faithfulness, service, and truth.

Journaling Focus: 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. 

This week take some time to journal your thoughts about the verse above.  Who does Jesus mean by “those who have” and “those who have nothing”?  Which group would you consider yourself to be a part of?  What do you think about the end result?  Is it fair or just to give more to those who already have and to take away what little is possessed by those who have nothing?  What might Jesus mean here?  What is it that will be given to or taken from them?  Pray for spiritual insight as you reflect on this verse through your journal writings.

Holy Action: 

Make a list of your blessings.  Be specific.  As the old hymn says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.”  Give thanks to God for each of those blessings.  Ask God to teach you to treasure each of those blessings.

Breath Prayer: Father, use our lives for your glory.

 

 

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