A Message About Giving
from Fr. Michael
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope.
Last Sunday, we heard Jesus tell the story about the coming of the Bridegroom and how the five wise virgins prepared well for the wedding celebration. In this coming Sunday’s appointed Gospel lesson, we hear Jesus speak about a generous master giving his servants “talents” to be used wisely. So as we approach the end of the church year with the Feast of Christ the King, and as we anticipate the coming of Advent, it is timely and fitting that we take stock of all the talents, gifts, and blessings we receive from our Lord, and ponder how we might serve God, the Church, and our local community in the most meaningful and fruitful ways possible.
It’s tempting for us to allow all our divisions and anxieties and fears to spill over into our life as the community of St. Francis. It’s tempting to think, “We’ve never faced times as challenging as these before”, and then stress about what the future will look like. But in times like these, history encourages us. It’s easy to say that our nation has never been this divided. But do today’s divisions really compare with the conflict over slavery and a Civil War? I don’t think so. It’s easy to say that our Episcopal Church is on its last legs because of declining membership, resources and the yet unresolved schism in our Diocese. But do today’s challenges really compare with nearly being extinguished as “the king’s church” after the American Revolution, or being called to resurrect ourselves and go out in mission across a new nation? I don’t think so.
My friends, living and acting in faith takes courage and so does being faithful stewards. Faith means to have trust and confidence in something, and to act accordingly. In the midst of all the anxiety and uncertainty, how is Jesus calling you to be a witness? I believe it boils down to this: Jesus is calling you to know, and name, and live your faith. How would you name what you know and feel about God? And then comes the next question: Given what you know and feel about God, how does your life embody it?
“The Parable of the Talents” we’ll hear this Sunday, is not really about money or abilities. It’s a story about risk and trust. Life is the same way. What turns out to be important is not money or abilities in themselves, but our decision to use them in ways that show our willingness to risk and to trust. The central question in our lives should not be, what have we accomplished, but rather, are we courageous enough to follow Jesus?