A few weeks ago, during the adult Sunday school class, we were discussing the parable of the talents. This parable, found in Matthew 25:14-30, is told by Jesus as he is describing what the kingdom of heaven will be like. It immediately follows the parable of the ten bridesmaids, where the wise bridesmaids are prepared with extra oil in case the groom is delayed, whereas the foolish bridesmaids do not have enough oil. In the parable of the talents, before going away on a journey, the master gives some money to three servants. Each receives a different amount, “according to his ability.” Two of the servants invest the funds, while the third buries his share to keep it safe. When the master returns, the two servants who invested their funds, and both doubled their investments, are rewarded for their work. The third servant gives back what the master entrusted to him, and is roundly chastised for his lack of initiative.
Both of these tales are difficult to interpret, especially in light of the love and forgiveness we anticipate from God. It is hard for me to imagine that God would keep someone from the kingdom of heaven for playing it safe, or for not thinking ahead to all possibilities. However, that is what these two stories seem to indicate. At least at first blush.
Both of these parables have preparedness as a theme. The wise bridesmaids are prepared in case the groom is delayed, and the two wise servants are prepared to take a risk on their master’s behalf. As I’ve reflected on these stories over the past few weeks, I noticed an interesting parallel to some things happening in my own life, and in our life and ministry here at Marshfield Christian Church.
So much of life is about investing ourselves in the future. That is one of the things I definitely learned as my family has been going through this process of building our home. We regularly needed to make decisions based not only on money, but what we felt would be the best investment for the long term. Ultimately, I don’t know if those decisions, those investments, will pay off financially in the future. But, taking the long view seems to be the best decision, especially when I consider the parables of the bridesmaids and talents.
The same thing is true here at MCC. Earlier this year, the board began discussing hiring a part-time person to help work with the youth and children in the church. Over the past several months we have considered different ways that this could be structured, from a very similar position to what we have had in the past, all the way to a part-time associate pastor. Honestly, I think we are all still working to clarify our understanding of what our needs are currently and what our needs will be in the future. Most of all, we are prayerfully seeking to understand what God is calling us to do, and to become, as a community of faith.
There is one thing of which I am certain: we desperately need you to be praying for us as we have these discussions, and make these decisions. Please pray that we have open hearts and minds, and that we would clearly understand how God is calling us to serve our children, and the children in our community. Please pray that we would have the wisdom to be prepared for, and invest in, the future. And, as God speaks to you in your prayers, please share that with me, one of the elders, or with a board member. I truly believe that God will guide us in our decision-making process. So, we need to hear what God is saying to you, because you may have a vital piece of the puzzle, and we don’t want to miss it!
Personally, I am excited to see how God continues to move in and through our community of faith in the coming years! It is truly a honor and blessing to be journeying together with you!