Parable of the Talents: Fearless or Fearful? (Matthew 25.14-30)

Parable of the Talents: Matthew 25:14-30

John of the Cross wrote that “In the evening of life we will be judged on love alone.” The two servants, probably more experienced in loving, fearlessly invest their portions of love. Heedless of sheer foolhardiness, they risk ego, rejection, derision, even death, adventurously increasing the master’s wealth of love in the world. The last servant misses the point, and like sinning against the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:32) the poor clueless man finds himself in the outer darkness for clinging to the supposed safety of burying his love in the ground. John Wesley comments, “So mere harmlessness, on which many build their hope of salvation, was the cause of his damnation.”
– Suzanne Guthrie, The Edge of the Enclosure

The Lord challenges us to suffer persecutions and to confess him. He wants those who belong to him to be brave and fearless. He himself shows how weakness of the flesh is overcome by courage of the Spirit. This is the testimony of the apostles and in particular of the representative, administrating Spirit. A Christian is fearless. –Tertullian

Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.
– William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (II, ii, 32-37)

Only those who risk going too far will ever know how far they can go.
– T.S. Eliot

Whatever you do you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you into believing your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories but it takes brave men and women to win them. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Moving ahead requires us to face the present with its hardships and afflictions, knowing that these, too, are part of the way. To do this requires a measure of courage, that word formed from the Latin cor, or heart. In such circumstances, the challenge before us is not simply to avoid losing our heart. Rather, it is that of finding our heart, of living “heartfully.” – Mark S. Burrows and John H. Ohlson, Love is a Direction from Weavings, Aug/Sept/Oct 2012

Click here and here and here for three thoughtful reflections on this passage by Steve Garnaas Holmes

Zephaniah 1:12
At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, “The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.”

Philippians 4:13 (NRSV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
… and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.
And what you want to give me is love,
unconditional, everlasting love. Amen.
– Henri Nouwen

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For more information on the use of the scripture translation, art and this resource in other settings, please leave a message in the comments.

Sermon Recording- How to Love (Matthew 25)

as unto christ matthew 25

Sermon Series: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
What’s love got to do with it? Everything! It’s the who, what, when, where, how and why of our words and actions as follower of Jesus Christ.

Cornerstone Scripture for the Series: 1 John 4:15-17
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.

Message: How to Love
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-40
Offered 7/24/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Love = Agape
Sacrificial, Unconditional, Makes the first move
Love is a choice tied to an action
Not so much an emotion but a motivation

United Methodist Four Areas of Focus

It’s easy to do good from a distance, but that’s not what we do. Yes we give, but we also welcome, we take care, we visit. We love with skin in the game because that’s what God does for us in Jesus Christ. In this loving, we experience a full circle moment. We accept the gift of God’s love, we share that love, in that sharing we are loving God.
– Lisa Degrenia <><

Worship Resources
Reader’s Theater- Separating the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25)

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Reader’s Theater: Separating the Sheep and the Goats

Byzantine Mosaic depicting Matthew 25:31-46

Matthew 25:31-46 is known by several names, the most well known ones being the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and The Judgment of the Nations. Jesus reminds us that the faithful not only know him but follow him into the world to love and to serve those in deep need. In doing so, they are also ministering to Jesus himself.

This simple, but effective reader’s theater version of the text uses six readers, two with larger parts and four with very small parts. Consider making this a moment for intergenerational leadership in an upcoming worship service. – Lisa <><

For a PDF of this worship resource, click here: Reader’s theater- sheep and goats

Matthew 25:40 (NRSV)
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Loving as He loves,
Helping as He helps,
Giving as He gives,
Serving as He serves,
Rescuing as He rescues,
Being with Him twenty-four hours,
Touching Him in his distressing disguise.
– Mother Teresa of Calcutta

God of mercy,
give me eyes to see your face.
God of mercy,
give me ears to hear your cry.
God of mercy,
give me hands to reach out to you.
God of mercy,
give me a heart to know your presence.
God of mercy,
give me mercy.
that I may draw near to you.
– Steve Garnaas Holmes, Give Me Eyes

Click here for a terrific sermon on this passage by Nadia Bolz Weber entitled Sheep and Goats.

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Reader’s Theatre compilation- Sheep and Goats © 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.