Matthew 25: 1-30 parables of Bridesmaids & Talents
Sermon 15th March 2015
I want to tell you a story; it’s a traditional story, one passed down from family to family, generation to generation. It is about families, and friendship, and honour, and ritual, and tradition.
It is ageless, timeless: a tale that works across the ages.
Some girls were getting ready for an event – they knew it was coming, but it was a surprise party; they knew generally when it would be, but the final call would be very short notice, and they would just have enough time to drop everything, get on the party things and run... and it was one of those events where if you weren’t there from the start – you would miss it. No late entry – everyone knew the rules, no exceptions. It was up to each of them to choose how to prepare, what to have in advance, how to use the time and resources they had.
Meantime – across the way there were three chaps; they were getting ready for the return of the big boss; he’d been away for a long time, and they knew he was going to come back –they just didn’t know when. Before he’d left, the big boss had set each of them a task; the boss was a firm man, but fair. He’d looked at his chaps and considered their abilities, what they could and couldn’t cope with. He’d worked out how much responsibility each of them could handle and he had set each one a task. It was up to them to choose what to do, and each knew that when he returned, the boss would want a full explanation of how they’d used their time and talents.
Time passed by...
It was a long wait.
Everything carried on, just as before.
People came and went
Work was done,
Hours and days went by...
The cry came up!
Are you ready?
The party is about to start!
Are you ready?
The boss is on his way!
What a kerfuffle!!
The girls flew round the house
Dresses, and shoes, and jewellery...
And, most important of all – for it was their role to provide the light – the oil lamps.
Half of the girls, grabbed their lamps, topped them up, trimmed the wicks and they were ready to go... they turned and looked at the others – what’s holding you up? Come on!!! Let’s get going they cried, and looked on in amazement at their friends.
The other girls were panic stricken!
“Lend me some oil”! one cried.
Then another, and another!
The girls were horrified – WHAT?!
Why don’t you have any?
Why didn’t you get extra?
How did you think you’d manage?
What a kerfuffle!
The guys ran round the house
Clean shirts, hair brushed, and talents collected for inspection...
The first had worked hard, he’d doubled his tally; he had made a great effort, he hoped the boss would be pleased. The second, hand done the same, he’d worked, and used his brain and his resources, he too had doubled his tally – he hoped the boss would be proud of the effort. The third, shuffled in, head bowed, hands trembling. He hadn’t really done much; in fact, really, if he was totally honest – he’d done nothing. Just hidden away, kept his head down, and he was ready to simply return his talent... his one solitary talent, unused, uncared for, too afraid to make an effort, too scared to step out, too worried to do anything at all.
The others looked at him – “are you serious?” They asked.
Why didn’t you do something?
Make an effort?
You know the boss, you know he is fair. Yet you didn’t even try... come on!!
The girls who were ready, went off to the party
The girls who didn’t think ahead, got left behind, locked out, excluded; they may not have known the hour – but they knew what was needed.
The guys who worked, were greeted and congratulated – rewarded and promoted.
The guy who let fear and doubt take over was chastised!
The boss, was firm but fair
But, laziness; apathy, indifference and idleness are not qualities to aspire to – nor are they worth rewarding: he was thrown out, excluded. He may not have known when the boss was coming, but he knew what was needed.
Both the girls and the boys had choices to make
Some chose wisely
Others did not
In life, we all make choices; we can choose to work, to be fair, to be prepared when can. We can choose to follow blindly, or step out on our own.
We can choose to step into the light, or we can hide away in the darkness
It is up to us, for God calls each and every one of us
And we can choose to answer
God loves us, and wants only the best for us
God wants us to love God, and all humanity – God will never force us – it is up to us to choose.
We know that one day there will be a reckoning – we will meet God face to face, and we will answer for how we used our time, our talents, how well we prepared and worked... this is not a secret!
It is all just a matter of choice
How will you choose?