Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023

Episode 7 November 17, 2023 00:10:58
Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023
Sundays with Bishop Ken
Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023

Nov 17 2023 | 00:10:58

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Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw

Show Notes

BIshop Ken reflects on the importance of seeing our strengths and talents as gifts from God. How do we use those gifts? Support this ministry. 

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Episode Transcript

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew Jesus told his disciples this parable: "A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one, he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one-- to each according to his ability. Then he went away. "After a long time, the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.'" Sometimes when the Gospel for the Sunday Mass is a long one, the lectionary gives the option of using a shorter version, leaving many of the verses out. I chose that option today, not to save time, but because I didn't want us to get lost in the details. The Gospel of the Lord Everything we have belongs to God. This is the theme that underlies this entire parable about the master who entrusts his funds to three of his servants while he is away. In this parable, Jesus is talking about the last judgment, and how we will be accountable for how we used everything God gave us. We hear this Gospel and are reminded that we're supposed to use all our talents and possessions well. But there is a prior truth that lies at the core of the whole thing: It all belongs to God. You may say, "Well, we know that. God created everything, and everything that exists comes from God." But it goes deeper than that. Everything we have not only comes from God. It belongs to God. This is very clear in the parable. The master entrusted the servants with his money. He didn't give it to them in the sense that it became theirs. It still belonged to the master. And they were to use it on his behalf. The application to our lives is not complicated. Everything we have - our money, our possessions, our abilities, our opportunities - it all belongs to God. And it is given to us so that we can use it well on God's behalf. To make this concrete, I want us for a few minutes to brainstorm what sort of things are included when we say, "It all belongs to God, and it is all to be used on God's behalf." Here are some ideas. Money. That's probably the first thing that comes to mind, because that's the example used in this Gospel. It belongs to God. Musical ability. You may play a musical instrument or have a good voice. It belongs to God. Even if you don't have a great voice, we've all got music in us. Which raises an interesting question. If we believe that the music within us belongs to God, why don’t we give it to God when we're in church by singing? That's when the question gets real. Do I honestly believe my voice - my ability to speak and to sing - belongs to God? Time. This can be the most precious possession of all. Now, really, do I believe my time belongs to God? If I do, then it could make a big difference on any given day. And some other examples … Intelligence. When we think of all our time spent in school, and on homework and the long hours we put in (not to mention the cost of a good education), we may start to think it's our own doing; we've earned it ourselves. Not true. It is God who gave me the gift of intelligence, and it belongs to God. A smile. We all can smile. It's a gift from God that I can give to anyone - even to the person who works at McDonald's, the grocery store, or a Seven-Eleven store. My smile belongs to God, to use on God's behalf. It's a gift I can give to others. Prayer. Now there's a gift I can give to anyone, at any time. I can see a person who looks "down" or who seems not happy . . . and I can say a prayer for them and know that God hears my prayer. Even a person who is homebound, confined to bed, can give this gift to others. God gives me the gift of prayer, and I can use it for my own good, and for the good of others. Courage. The word "courage" comes from the Latin word "cor" which means "heart". If I have the God-given gift of having the heart to pursue something when others do not, that's a gift I can give. I, who have courage, can encourage others. Again, it all belongs to God. Children. Now there's an interesting thought. Children. Are they just "my children," or are they God's children? The truth is, they belong to God. Being nice to others, entertaining, engaging. Some people have this in spades - social skills. Again, it belongs to God. I can use these skills for my own popularity, or I can use them on God's behalf. It's good to think about – do I use my social skills for myself, simply to make me "look better," or do I give this gift on God's behalf? My possessions. All the possessions I have are really "borrowed" from God - my car, my clothes, the food in my refrigerator. It all belongs to God. We could go on, but obviously you have the idea. It’s a radical belief that everything – everything – belongs to God. Think about it. What percentage of the world believes this? What percentage of Christians believes this, not in theory, but concretely? What percentage of Christians practice this? This simple parable of the master who entrusts his money to his servants, and then comes back to ask for accountability applies to each of us. To realize, and truly believe, that it all belongs to God can have tremendous implications. Every gift I have belongs to God, and I am to use that gift, give that gift, on behalf of God. We can say that we believe it, but perhaps we believe it just in theory. To believe it in practice, in the concrete, is to make all the difference in the world. When we die, God will ask us, "What did you do with the gifts I entrusted to you?" This simple parable, that we've all heard, that we all understand, can turn our life around. It's to begin each day and say to myself, "It all belongs to God." And then to say, "O God, help me to use your gifts well today." Try it the rest of today. You'll see - it changes everything. Everything.

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