Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Do Not Open Until Christmas

Luke 19:11-26

Service is a responsibility and a privilege. But how can that be? Are not both ideas opposing spectrum of a singular idea of its own? How many times throughout our childhood have we heard the phrase, “such and such is a privilege, not a right,” or “this and that was your responsibility.” It seems baffling to understand responsibility and privilege in the manner that Christ taught the crowd as He passed through Jericho in Luke 19. In the parable, Jesus tells us that the minas given to the servants were both their privilege and their responsibility-they could do with them what they pleased. What I find interesting about this Scripture is that the servants were not told that there would be repercussions for their actions with the money entrusted to them; they were just given the money and told to make money with it. Of course when the servants were gathered to give a report to what they had done with their investments, the king starts to hand out rewards (I’m sure at this point, the servant who hid the mina away must have been kicking himself). Not only was this investing exercise their responsibility, it was also their privilege. The king was known as a hard man, so all that the servants could understand from his actions was the responsibility involved. I’m sure great fear gripped their hearts as they each handed the mina over to the investment…what if their investment failed? Would the king demand recompense of them for what was lost? I’m sure this is exactly what the third servant was thinking as he hid the mina away in the handkerchief. It is kind of like entering into the living room on Christmas Day and seeing various gifts of differing shapes and sizes under the tree. As each gift is handed out we may notice that some have more than others, or that some gifts look larger. Regardless, if we focus on this and not on the giver of the gift, we fail to capture the privilege aspect of the whole process. The size of the gift isn’t the matter; it is the person who gave it. If we all considered the person who gave the gift, we would understand that what is inside is good and a blessing to us despite the size or shape of it. So how do we consider the gift(s) God has given us? Scripture tells us that He has gifted us with the ministry of reconciliation. How will we invest this gift? Will we be distracted by the gift and/or ministry of another individual? We have no need to fear the giver of the gift, because we know that our Father gives good gifts to His children. He, like our earthly fathers does have expectations for how we use our gifts. Will we invest it in others, bringing a multitude into the Kingdom? Or will we hide the gift that we hold away until He calls for a report? In Peru, every gift that is given is greatly appreciated and put to good use. As I minister, I need to remember that the gift God has entrusted me with is worth far more than ten minas-they are the lives of people-His people…how will I invest in them? The end result is not of my concern, only the investment. My responsibility-no, my privilege in Peru is to invest the gifts given to me by God to invest in people, and leave the results up to Him. So I ask you this: what gifts have you been given to invest? How are you investing them? I think in this Scripture, Jesus is telling us to ignore the “do not open until Christmas” tags.   

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