Lenten Bible Study – Day 39

Saturday, April 3, 2021- Day 39
Matthew 25: 14-30
14 ‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then 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.”21His 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.” 22And 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.” 23His 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.” 24Then 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;25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 26But 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? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For 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. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Some years back I started seeing T-shirts that say something like this: I [something they did] and all I got was this lousy t-shirt! Is that what that event meant to them? All they got out of it was a lousy t-shirt? Doesn’t seem like a very good use of time and money. I started to wonder if folks think about life generally that way. Just about every morning I take my dogs to a cemetery and let them run off leash. As I walk I look at the headstones. I read the names. I look at the dates. I try to think what their lives might have been like. Did they go to meet their maker thinking “I lived a life and all I got was a lousy headstone? “I hope not. That would not have been much of a life. I choose to think that those folks did something that gave their lives value. Something worth the time and effort. I think all people want to live a life that has value. Abraham Lincoln was one of those. As a young man, his greatest fear was that he would live a life that had no impact on the world. That he would not do anything worth remembering. In her book Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin writes this about Lincoln’s ambition.
“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition,” the twenty-three-year-old Abraham Lincoln had written in his open letter to the people of Sangamon County during his first bid for public office in the Illinois state legislature. “Whether it is true or not, I can say for one that I have no other [ambition] so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy if their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed.”
Well, he certainly pulled it off. I think we all have that same ambition to some extent. We want to leave a legacy. Not many of us will achieve the status of Abraham Lincoln. No one is going to write a book about us. But we can do better than a name on a headstone. Even if no one knows who we were. If you have ever been to a national cemetery, you know what I mean. The headstones have names, but they also testify to the sacrifice those folks made or were willing to make for their country. There is a community story there. A legacy. A life of value. Which brings us to today’s parable. God has given us gifts and resources. God has invested in us. We are called to use these investments in a manner that gives God a great return on his investment. We want to be a good investment for God. Are we? If we live the Jesus way, and are his disciples, we are a good investment, and so will get the reward Jesus describes in the parable. What will be on your headstone?
Dear God, we want to be a good investment for you. We want to return many-fold to you all the blessings you have bestowed on us. Help us to choose well how we will use the gifts and resources you have provided so that we can be good and faithful servants. Amen