Meditation

Sermon for 11/15/202024th Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 28

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-12; 1st Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.

She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen…She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word…

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners… She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl; the she pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Finally she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me what you see.’ ‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother asked her to feel the carrots. She noted the carrots were soft; the egg was now hard boiled; and the coffee, she smiled has rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it meant, ‘What does it mean mother? Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity in boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. After being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak; the egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened; the ground coffee beans were unique, after they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. ‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, egg or a coffee bean?

Afr you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity? May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. Life is a preparation for the time when Christ returns, it will b e a time of accountability. This story gives us a glimpse into how we are to live our lives, and form Whom we are accountable to.

Our lesson from Zephaniah begins with, At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.” If this is what you believe beloved, I recommend continuing to read the rest. Christ will be coming back and the time of accountability will begin. No excuses will be accepted or even desired, for ‘He already knows His sheep, and they know Him.” Atheism was not acceptable to biblical people, in fact, they worshiped too many gods. Only the one true God deserves our worship, and no matter how elaborate or impressive they may be, ceremonies honoring anyone or anything else are false. Only God is living and true. He will not share His worship with anyone or anything else.

Our lesson from 1st Thessalonians speaks to the ‘Last Things,” “Day of the Lord.” Both are intertwined; both are held forth in Scripture as events that will overtake the world suddenly and without warning. The majority of people will not be looking for the coming judgment and destruction. The element of surprise is consistently predicted to be attached to the coming day of the Lord. I pray you are all in the group that is expectantly waiting for Christ’s return. Are you?

The text in our Gospel from Matthew is concerned with the Parable of the Talents. All people have skills, talents, and possessions entrusted to us by God. Our responsibility is to use these in a manner that will accomplish God’s purposes. No one is responsible for the way others use their gifts, for each of us is responsible for the proper used of our own gifts.

By using these parables, Jesus taught the need for faithfulness to service during the time prior to His return. Jesus expects to see faithfulness in proportion to our abilities. He will reward faithfulness and punish unfaithfulness. One day, and no one knows when, He will return. Are you ready for His return? I pray so.

What we must all remember, is that it is our daily commitment to Him through our use of our talents, gifts, and even our finances, to further the kingdom of heaven. He will know before He even returns the answer for each one of us. So, dedicate yourself and your efforts every single day, that we will hear those heartfelt words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Amen

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