‘I was afraid and I went and hid my talent.’ (Matt. 25:25)
The Gospel and in particular today’s reading on the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25: 14-30) makes it clear: freedom is only found in giving our lives away for others. Fear is the enemy of such freedom. If we doubt the gifts that we are, we lose and so does everyone else. Scripture takes it further. Keeping ourselves wrapped up in fear and self-doubt makes us stingy and miserable, deserving of the loneliness such unholy hoarding incurs.
St. John Paul ll paraphrases Jesus when he wrote his now oft-quoted line: ‘Man can only find himself through the sincere gift of himself.’ (GS 24) Our quest for clarity in any sphere—spiritually, sexually, emotionally—must involve self-giving. Pity the fearful one who stays inside, waiting to be summoned by an intrepid prince or princess. The Prince has come; He has crowned you a gift by virtue of your humanity. Discover that humanity by offering yourself to others!
That call is relevant for persons with damaged relational backgrounds. The only way we change the old set of fearful memories is by offering ourselves. We heed Prince Jesus at every turn. Eventually, we get it. Even if another does not value the gift that we are, the gift cannot be diminished. He who made us and is redeeming us reminds us moment by moment: ‘You are my beloved.’ Our mirror becomes the Creator, not the created, which frees us to risk again.
Happiness results from generous self-giving. ‘Come and share your master’s happiness’ (vs. 21, 23) says Jesus to those persons who offer themselves, over and over for others’ good. Taking our talents and investing them is especially relevant for building up Jesus’ body. I frankly have little tolerance for persons who remain stuck in ‘church-wounds’ and are quick to mutter outside her gates with the bitter throng who detest ‘religion.’
I’d rather be fruitful and happy. Instead of a betrayer, I see a beautiful, broken ‘bride’ who has been struck down but not destroyed. I shall not kick her when she’s down but seek to honor and serve her with all I can give. Jesus helps us here. He always gives us His heart for His bride! I forgive my offenders quickly. And at times I change where I worship in order to be faithful to Jesus by discerning where I can best love and serve her. She is a diverse bride who gives us many points of entry. The Church needs generous givers who will not dwell on her failures but on how she welcomes her Bridegroom beautifully.
To be sure, we must be honest about our fears. Many of us have been pierced by church-related sins that make us flinch to this day. Annette and I suffered seasons of such cruel and arbitrary rejection from churchmen that we have been tempted to bury our talents in fear. We bear the mark of such rejection and must struggle to overcome it. We shall. We want to be both happy and fruitful in our service of the bride who is making herself radiant, without spot or wrinkle. (Eph. 5:27)
‘For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’ (Matt. 25:29)
Please join us as we pray for:
- Northeast Region, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Garry & Melissa Ingraham – Coordinators: For strength and vision for Garry & Melissa, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
- Aguas Vivas: Leon, Mexico, Emma – Coordinator: Grace and strength to finish their first Aguas Vivas pilot group.
- Restored Hope Network: Reconciliation Ministries, Dan Hitz, Roseville, MI: For new office space and start of Living Waters group. Pure Heart Ministries, Jim Venice, St. Peters, MO: personal and ministry health.
“Courage for Pastor Phil Strout (National Director Vineyard USA), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”