Our theme this morning is Caring for God’s creation - or put it another way, how affective is our personal Stewardship of God’s creation remembering that Stewardship is what we do, after we say “I believe.”
StF 94 To God be the glory
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
StF 136 Morning has broken
Our Gospel reading this morning in the parable of the Faithful Steward or the Parable of the Bags of Gold or the Parable of the Talents which may be more familiar to us. But whatever this Parable is called it doesn’t detract from the challenging, hard-hitting message it contains.
Genesis 2; 4-15 Adam &; Eve
Matthew 25; 14-30 Parable of Bags of Gold
StF 407 Hear the call of the kingdom
As some of you may know, I have a somewhat eccentric, some say wicked sense of humour. Had you ever met my father, Ron Sykes, or his two younger sisters, Marjorie and Winnie and experienced their sense of fun, as I did as I was growing up, you would understand – it’s in my DNA – it’s all their faulty.
Spike Milligan has always been a comedy hero of mine for more years than I can remember – who can forget the Goon Show, I’m walking backwards to Christmas, the Ying Tong Song and so on Spike Milligan had Irish citizenship, thanks to his father's birthplace and being made a stateless person by Great Britain.
This would explain why, in part the epitaph carved onto his gravestone was in Gaelic, because the diocese of Chichester where he was buried (in St Thomas's Church, Winchelsea) didn't think it was appropriate for the words of his epitaph to appear on his gravestone in English. His family reached a compromise with the Diocese - a compromise that would have delighted Spike, a compromise he would very have very much approved of, because only those who knew Gaelic, would understand the epitaph, and thus be amused by it.
The Gaelic translates as “I told you I was ill".
The Nobel Peace Prize is the Supreme award given to those who have made an exceptional contribution to the betterment of the world. Other Nobel prizes are given to those who have made outstanding contributions in the Arts and Sciences. There is a Story about a Nobel prize that is rarely told. Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, who made his fortune by inventing powerful explosives and licensing the formula to governments to make weapons.
One day, Nobel’s brother died, and a newspaper by accident printed an obituary notice for Alfred, instead of the deceased brother. It identified him as the inventor of dynamite who made a fortune by enabling armies to achieve new levels of mass destruction.
Nobel had the unique opportunity to read his own obituary in his lifetime and to see how he would be remembered. He was shocked, to think that this was what his life would add up to - he would always be remembered as a merchant of death and destruction.
As a direct result, he took his fortune and used it to establish the awards for accomplishments contributing to life rather than death. and today, Nobel indeed is remembered for his contribution to peace and human achievement not explosives.
Can any of us imagine anything more wonderful than hearing the God of all creation pronounce the final benediction on our lives with the words we have heard this morning from Matthew 25, 21 “Well done good and faithful servant for “making a difference in Caring for my Creation”……………...come and share your Master’s happiness”.
Some men were chatting about how far they had travelled in their cars during their working lives soon the discussion got competitive. One said that he had covered 10,000 miles - another said that he had done 12,000 - yet another bragged that he had always gone more than 15,000 miles each year, that he had had his car. The last one boasted his car had clocked up 19,000 miles that year.
The oldest man had said nothing because he’d never owned a car. One of the men jokingly asked him.
“How many miles have you done?” He calmly replied, “one Million miles.”
Pressed to explain this startling statement he said, “I’ve driven an average of 70 miles each day, six days a week. That's over 20,000 miles each year, and that's more than any of you and I've done it for 50 years.”
Just imagine a million miles.
This man had gone the equivalent of 1000 return journeys between London and John O'Groats or Land's End, or 40 times around the world, or as far as two journeys to the moon and back!
What pleasure he must have had driving to the countryside or to seaside resorts! He must have visited them all.
But the imagination was spoiled by one of the other men who said, “But you haven't got a car!”
He, of course, had to explain. “I drive a brand-new car everyday straight from our car factory to the car sales firm in towns within a radius of 70 miles mostly to London.”
“Not much fun in that,” said one, “a bit monotonous and boring. You never got anywhere really - a million miles to nowhere.”
“No, but it was necessary and useful,” he answered.
Today, so many people are out too “look out for number one, for themselves, to get somewhere” in life, be it, at work, in the community, or even in the church. Some have achieved so much in life for themselves, have been all around the world or visited scores of countries for pleasure but have never done anything really useful. They have truly gone far and got nowhere, for they really have been of no use to anyone.
Our hero had travelled a million miles, but every journey had been of real use to someone. Thousands of people had him to thank, for the safe delivery of their new cars. His ambition had been to do the best he could, with what he had, for the good of those he served. Everything he did was necessary and useful.
Traditionally the parable of the Faithful Steward. or the Parable of the Talents has been seen as Jesus, urging His disciples to use their God given gifts, talents, abilities in the service of God, and to take risks for the sake of the Kingdom. Just as in the Parable, the servants are given different sums to take care of, but clearly everything still belongs to the master. They're merely administrators who will answer for how they invested the master’s belongings. This fact reinforces the principle of stewardship and today we’re thinking about Caring for God’s creation – STEWARDSHIP OF HIS CREATION.
As believers, we are all given resources according to our skills and abilities, but those resources ultimately belong to God. We will eventually answer for how we have invested them. These gifts have been seen to include personal abilities, Talents in the everyday literal sense, as well what we have - our own personal wealth. However, let’s remember, that it’s only God that truly sees our hearts and our motives when we’re given an opportunity to use them in His service. Our ambition surely is to do the best we can, with what he have, to play our part in Caring for His Creation and building His Kingdom.
Remember, Jesus never travelled more than 100 miles from Jerusalem and met his death at the early age of 33 on a cruel, barbaric Roman Cross of wood.
Would you say he got nowhere?
In those few years he did more good, to and for others, than any other person who's ever lived, and by his death and resurrection opened the gates of heaven for you and me.
So, let’s not worry about how far we’re going, rather how much we can do as Faithful Stewards, as we reach out in compassion to use our God given Gifts, Talents & Abilities to help others on the way, because in God’s eyes. it’s both necessary, valuable and useful in building His Kingdom here on earth.
John Wesley put it beautifully.
'Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can.'
Spike Milligan’s will be remembered for his sense of humour “I told you I was ill”. Alfred Nobel will always be remembered for the Nobel Prizes of Peace, Arts & Science. Can any of us imagine anything more wonderful than hearing the God of all creation pronounce the final benediction on our lives, when the time comes, with the words “Well done good and faithful servant……………...come and share your Master’s happiness”.
There is a song with the important words
“They’ll know we are Christians by our love”, because how we live, how witness how we use our God given health, money, time, talents, gifts, and abilities, but above all else how we love, really matters, because when we do, we can hear Jesus say, “it was all worth it!”
StF 513 Take this moment, sign and space
I thank you for the presence of your Son
wherever I approach you in worship.
Help me now to fling wide the doors
Breathe your Spirit deeply,
That daily I might live as one of your faithful disciples
Sharing the good news of the Kingdom
Now and forever,
These are the Worship at Home versions of the In Person Services, led by our Minister :-
Each Service has the videos of the songs and a transcript of the Sermon or reflection.
The Song references (StF) are from the Singing the Faith song book.
The videos of the songs are linked to YouTube or vimeo which may have advertising which Kingswood Methodist Church does not endorse.