At first I liked the sermon, then I thought about it.
If the third slave can get ejected into darkness, doesn’t that mean that even though you start as a winner of the game, you can get ejected for a foul. I pulled out my Bible, blew off the dust and turned to Matt. and read chapter 25. It doesn’t say we are all winners. It says some get eternal life and others don’t, based on how are faith is reflected in our actions.
Wonderful comments. Thanks Fred. I have a couple of thoughts. First, the reward of baptism is eternal life with God. This is our victory. It is not conditional, that is God does not grant us eternal life if we do enough certain things. In this parable of the talents, it is easy to misread it as teaching that the third slave was rejected because he didn’t do enough certain things, since talents (a large denomination of money) and amounts are so prevalent in the text. The point of my sermon is that this is a misreading. He was rejected because he didn’t act like the Lord, which was his job as the steward-the guy in charge when the Lord was gone. Evidence that he didn’t act like the Lord is that he buried his wealth rather than spent it freely and extravagantly in the world, as his Lord had. The freely and extravagantly claims comes from the massive amounts of money for a typical worker a single talent is worth. It would be like us telling a story and saying this guy left a “gazillion” dollars. The slave rejected remember did nothing with this great amount of money. Nothing. That is a pretty extreme response. Second, since we are saved in our baptism, the only thing we can do to lose that salvation is reject it. This is our free will, my ultimate ability to say no to God’s yes for me. Saying no looks like refusing to be a child of God or Christ like in the Lord’s absence. I believe this is the point of the prophecy that Jesus shares next in the text, Matthew 25:31-46. Again, it is not about numbers or amount of actions, it is about saying yes and not no to our opportunity. We can either live in victory, given the grace in baptism to share just as extravagantly in the world, or we can choose not to believe we have won and live as if we constantly have to do more to prove to God we are enough. I guess it is the difference between believing that a God who loves us passionately has saved us and called us his own, or believing that our God is giving us an opportunity to prove ourselves on earth to see whether we get to hang out with God in the afterlife. One is about living a life of response out of love and thankfulness. The other is living a life of doing enough to appease a finicky sort of God whose rules and judgment we can never be sure. I think scripture is clear, the former is the starting point for baptized Christians.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *