Scott Peck opens his book, The Different Drum with a fable about a decaying monastic order which is revitalised through the cryptic message from a local Rabbi, “The messiah is one of you.” This phrase, which was the result of the Father Abbot seeking out the rabbi’s advice, was a catalyst for reflection and ultimate change in the monastery. So profound is the change, that Peck ends his fable with the line, “so within a few years the monastery had once again become a thriving order and, thanks to the rabbi’s gift, a vibrant center of light and spirituality in the realm.”
In the fable, the abbot makes the choice to go to the rabbi as he can no longer sit around and watch his monastery decay and die. He chooses to pass on the cryptic message of the rabbi, and each monk in turn chooses to reflect on the way in which Jesus is evident in the lives of one other. They also begin to realise that they themselves reflect Jesus. As a consequence they live so differently that it profoundly impacts those they come into contact with. A series of choices lead to life.
Foundation Sunday was about the choices we make. In particular the way in which we respond to the trust God places in us. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the now familiar Parable to the Talents.
In this parable the master entrusts his servants with the responsibility to carry on work. In giving them a sum of talents, they are given free rein to invest on behalf of the master. There is no guarantee of success, and it is not clear that this is expected. What is expected is that the servants take what they are given and use it. Perhaps to take a risk, to try their best, and honour their master’s trust.
The application is simple. God entrusts us to carry on His work. Not to be perfect, but to understand that when He gives us opportunities, gifts, talents, resources, and the like, it’s so that we will use them to advance His cause.
In a shocking twist in the parable, one servant does nothing with what he is given. He buries it and is condemned by the master when He returns. God’s assessment is that the servant was lazy and wicked. It’s a sobering assessment.
This parable is a call to action. To make choices with what we are given, and dare to believe God can make a difference in and through us.
Have you ever considered God has faith in you? He calls you to be faithful with this trust.