Bridesmaids and Talents
On Sunday, I encouraged you to reflect on the characters in the Parables of the Bridesmaids and the Talents. They are real life, real world characters. They all have flaws. None are perfect. There is some right and wrong in each of them.
And because the characters in these parables are real life characters, they offer us an opportunity to see ourselves in them. That is, you and I have sometimes struggled with the things they struggle with in these stories. We have faced similar situations, decisions and consequences.
So, as a review and reminder, here are some of those characters and the decisions they make or situations they face:
- The “Wise” Bridesmaids – They are prepared with plenty of oil. They are asked to share that oil. And yet they choose not to share for fear that they might run out. Thus, they don’t exactly following Jesus commands in other parts of the gospels.
- The “Foolish” Bridesmaids – They are ill-prepared. They run out of oil. They ask for help, but are denied. They end up following the advice of the “Wise” Bridesmaids. And because they follow the advice of the so-called wise ones (leaving to get more oil), they are late for the wedding banquet. They ask the Bridegroom to let them in. And they are denied, yet again.
- The Bridegroom – He arrives late to his own wedding banquet. He lets in the few bridesmaids waiting for him. But when the other bridesmaids come knocking later, he refuses them. And he goes so far as to say he doesn’t even know them.
- The Master – He is a harsh man who reaps where he does not sow. And yet he entrust his slaves with care of large sums of money. He rewards those slaves who end up making him more money, irrespective of who they might have taken from to make that money. Yet he shames and punishes the slave who acts as any good Jewish man would and simply returns to him what was originally his.
- The Slaves with 5 Talents and 2 Talents – They both risk the incredibly large sums of money entrusted to them to make more money and, in fact, double that money. They don’t follow Jewish law which would forbid them from investing their money at the expense of others in their community. That is, they reap where they did not sow, acting just as their master would. And they are rewarded by their master.
- The Slave with 1 Talent – He receives the smallest amount of money from the master (though still a consider sum of about 15 years wages). He acts as a good law-abiding Jew would and puts the money in a safe place. And he returns the money to the master safe and sound. However, when the master returns, he admits that he really acted out of fear. And because of his failure to invest and make the master more money (no matter the cost to others), the master severely punishes him.
Remember these characters are neither all good nor all bad. They are all good in some way and also flawed in some way. And so they are just like us. Try asking yourself some of the following questions for reflection:
- Can you see your struggles in the situations any of these character face?
- Have you made decisions or acted like any of them?
- Can you see yourself in any of them?
- Is there comfort in knowing that even in Jesus parables there are characters like us that struggle, that face challenges, and that are both good and flawed?
- Do any of these characters or stories help you understand your life any better?
- That is, can seeing your struggles and decisions reflected in these characters show you a possible way forward?
Take some time to pray for a difficult or challenging situation you are facing. What might God be saying to you through these parables and through your pray time?
If you want, being to look towards this coming Sunday when we will discover some answers to the struggles presented in these two parable by reading the Parable of the Sheep & Goats – Matthew 25:31-46.
If You Missed Sunday’s Sermon…
Read or listen to Because – Living Out of Fear – Matthew 25:14-30
God’s Words for This Week
Ezekiel 34:11-24 – For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. (NRSV, v.11-12)
Psalm 95:1-7a – O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. (NRSV, v.6-7a)
Ephesians 1:15-23 – And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all (NRSV, v.22-23)
Matthew 25:31-46 – And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (NRSV, v.40)
This Week at Hood
Wednesday, November 22, 6:00 pm – NO Choir Practice (CANCELLED)
Thursday, November 23 – THANKSGIVING DAY (Office Closed)
Sunday, November 26, 11:00 am – Worship
Saturday, December 2, 3:00 – 5:00 pm – Children’s Christmas Tea & Tunes Party (The Cellar, 108 N Wilson St)
February 18, 2019
January 22, 2019
January 21, 2019