1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you.
Psalm 98: 1, 7-9
O sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.
“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then 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.’ 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.’ And 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.’ 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.’ Then 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; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But 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? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 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. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Human beings can fall into a mindset about God that depicts him as a being completely in charge of our lives. Yes, while God is infinitely powerful and reigns over the entire universe and knows and sees all things, he does not run our lives. Even though God has the power and capability to take control over us, he instead grants us free will. This free will is not meant for us to flaunt our freedom and do whatever we want, but meant for us to choose to dedicate our lives and work to him. By granting us free will, God invites us into partnership and relationship with him.
In the gospel parable, we see how God invites his servants, or slaves, into partnership with him. Although they are slaves, he offers them the opportunity to take what he gives them, use and multiply it, and offer it back to him. In return, the master gives them even more responsibilities and trust. The first two slaves choose to enter into partnership with the master. The third, falling into the mindset that he has no power to do anything given to him by a master who reaps where he does not sow and gathers where he does not scatter, refuses to acknowledge the gift given to him and does nothing with it.
It is true that God is infinitely powerful and has the capacity to reap where he does not sow and gather where he does not scatter. Yet, he asks us to enter into the work of gathering and reaping. His love for us compels him to desire relationship and partnership with you.
What are the gifts and talents God has given you? How and where can you use them to work for the kingdom of God? He is inviting you today to be his servant to reap and gather the harvest. Confident in the knowledge that all your gifts come from God, to be used for God, go forward to build his kingdom and ask for an increase in love of God and neighbor.