Sermon - 12 March 2023 - Towards a Vision #3 - A Relationship with each other: My gifts and your gifts

Published On: 

Sun 12 Mar 2023 — 8:30 am

1 Corinthians 12:1-11/Matthew 25:14-30

This is the third sermon in our Lent series alongside our Lent studies, which, today, focuses on a relationship with each other…

…and what this might mean to us with respect to the strapline, ‘My gifts and your gifts’

What do you do when you are waiting?

When you are at the Doctors, Dentists, Opticians, Vets, Giving Blood, Waiting for a bus, at the airport?

Our wait can be short or may be time – sometimes we just don’t know.

Do you pick up the nearest magazine or read the adverts or notices that are strewn around the walls?

Do you go prepared with your own magazine or book?

Or perhaps, you buy or read a newspaper; do the crossword or wordle challenge!

You may use the time to catch up with your emails and messages on your smart phone or tablet?

Or flick through social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tic Tok and the like?

How do you use your waiting time?

Are you industrious or do you not really do anything?

Using the time we have on our hands, including our waiting time, is the theme explored in our second Bible reading, written by Matthew.

This is about the return of the Lord Jesus; the promise that Jesus will come back.

Jesus uses what is called the parable of the talents to explain this.

Jesus helps us to picture a master going away and leaving his servants with responsibilities to achieve during the time he’s away.

There’s a long time to wait, and the issue is, who will be ready for the master’s return.

There’s to be no waiting, in the standing around idle sort of way, but getting on with the job and making the most of the opportunities entrusted to the servants.

The main point being made, for us to understand and respond to, is that the master, Jesus, will return, and without warning, to see what’s happened in his absence.

For the servants who had worked hard Jesus comments, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’

This is in contrast to the servant who had done nothing whilst waiting for the master to return, when Jesus says, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!

There are three important points being made by Jesus.

First, our talents and our abilities are gifts from God.

They are entrusted to us during our lifetime and we are responsible for the way in which we use them.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, as we heard in Chapter 12, highlights the truth that we are all different.

We read in verses 4-6, where Paul says:

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

And he goes on to say, in the last verse:

11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

God has not mass produced us in identical form.

We have different personalities.

We have different strengths and weaknesses.

We have different gifts to offer.

We all have gifts and we are responsible for the way in which we use them…

Second, God’s gifts are given to us in order to be used…

…not just for ourselves or to meet our personal needs.

We are to use these gifts in the church and the world.

To give you a few ideas:

Helping within the church – with Bible Readings, Prayers of Intercession, Sunday Special, Sidesmen, Flowers, Choir, Post Service Refreshments…

Assisting with Parish activities, such as the Baby and Toddler Group, Open Door – Fundraising and other events

Thinking overseas, Operation Christmas Child – Shoe Box Appeal – gift of making these up – patience and love

Locally, in the village; in Kemsing and Woodlands, involving ourselves in community groups, offering help and support.

Possibly helping in the local Schools, helping the children and young people with their reading and other studies…

I’m certain you will have other ideas…

Third, Jesus makes it clear that the gifts that we have been given increase when we use them effectively.

With regard to any gift/skill/ability – and to give you an example – an athlete or sportsperson – their gift, if not used can get ‘rusty’ and it takes a long time to ‘get back up to speed.’

The more they are used the more natural they become.

As it has been said, ‘If you don’t use them, you’ll lose them.’

It’s also important to seek an understanding of our gifts through the work and power of the Holy Spirit and God’s will for how we should use them…

When we receive Jesus into our lives, to be a real part of our lives in all that we do, we also receive His Holy Spirit.

It’s God’s Holy Spirit that enables us to use our gifts effectively and meaningfully.

The apostle Paul emphasises the importance of the fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the people of Galatia:

He writes, in Galatians 5 - 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control…

So, in a nutshell, what is Jesus saying in his parable?
He’s impressing upon us that our faith doesn’t deepen through being allowed to stagnate, but through being applied.

In essence, if we have a faith, then Jesus wants us to develop it, with a deepening spiritual understanding.

We are called to sacrificial service, working hard for the kingdom of God to be extended as we share the good news that Jesus brings into our lives.

This is through the word of God and our faith in action – to serve God and neighbour, not ourselves!

As we read in the book of Colossians 3:

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

As Jesus said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’

It’s challenging, but could he say that about us?

Let’s pray:

Lord, we thank you for the opportunity throughout Lent to spend time thinking about and refreshing our relationship with you; how we can deepen our faith and understanding of how you want us to live and to use our gifts for the good of others. We ask this for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Venerable Mike Lodge
12 March 2023