Use it or Lose it!
Have you ever heard that phrase? If you’re like me, it kind of haunts you, thinking of all the things I’ve lost through lack of use, whether that’s the ability to speak German, play the piano, run faster or lift more.
I’ve found it true: use it or lose it. Well, that’s the truth Jesus brings out as he tells this parable in our text of a king who goes on a journey and gives some gifts to his servants to use for his kingdom while he’s gone.
But Jesus ups the stakes a little. This story revolves around Judgment Day — when our king returns — that day by which we set our eternity. That’s a bigger deal than some language or athletic ability. And he makes it clear that he is coming back. So what are we supposed to do while we wait? Use it. Use what resources he has given us. After all, think of the journey our king is on.
It wasn’t quite the journey some of the people traveling with him thought it would be. Verse 11 says that “people thought the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” They thought that Jesus was on his way to make the big political move, to overthrow Rome’s might and wear the crown as King of the Jews over an independent Israel. But we know why he went there. We know about this journey. This was the “Dead man walking” trip of a convicted felon on his way to execution — but this convict went willingly — and his conviction was based on our sins. Yes, he was going to Jerusalem to take on a crown — but it would be made of thorns and shame and disgrace. Yes, he was going to wage a revolutionary war, but it was not against the prince of Rome, but of this world — a battle against Satan and sin and death. And he would win. He would rise from that convict’s death as a victor, gleaming with the innocence that he had all along, but now visible because our sins that had been placed on him were now destroyed. He was going to be declared king in his ascension into heaven and taking his place at the right hand of the father. And Jesus’ journey was to a distant place —where he is preparing our place.
Now that’s a journey. So what does that mean for us, who are here waiting for his return? Well, the same thing it meant for those subjects in the parable. Some will say — “No, don’t let him be king.” That’s happened to us, hasn’t it — as the sports schedule or the hunting or the kids or the bed or the sin wants to sit on the throne in our lives? There will be friends and family trying to prevent him from having the rule in our hearts. But our king doesn’t deal with those just yet. He certainly will when he returns, but for now — he speaks to us.
Verse 13: “He called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’” He has given us resources to use for his kingdom, and we are to use them, until he comes back. We don’t have room here to get into all of that, but check out the website for the full sermon if you’d like. For now, suffice it to say that all we have — our money, our time, our abilities, our relationships — and above all else — the Gospel — these are our resources. Let’s use them for God’s Work. You know the truth of it: Use it or lose it. In Christ, Amen. The Rev. Jonathan E. Scharf
Abiding Grace Lutheran
The Church of Thyatira, Then and Now
In Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, there are seven letters to seven churches from Christ. To each church He had a message. He still does today.
The letter to the Church of Thyatira is recorded in Revelation 2:18-29. Christ introduced himself as the one who has eyes that are a blazing fire and feet like burnished bronze, indicating his ulti- mate authority and judgment over everyone.
Christ was quick to commend the Church of Thyatira for their works, love, faith, service, perseverance and their continual growth.
However, Christ was greatly troubled because of a woman, symbolized by the name “Jezebel,” who had infiltrated the church and was misleading, corrupting, and causing people to compromise with the pagan culture, idolatry and immorality all around them. The church of Thyatira was tolerating this woman and her teachings, and for this, Christ sharply reproved them.
In every age, there are those who infiltrate the church with motives and agendas very different from that of Christ and his cause. We must carefully guard against such deception and dangerous people. One person can corrupt an entire church if left unchecked.
Christ had been more than merciful to this woman and had given her time to repent, but she was continuing her divisive work in the church, so he said she would suffer great consequences and would be cast on a bed of suffering. Not only so, but also those who followed her teachings would be killed unless they repented immediately and changed their ways.
No one damages Christ’s church without great peril to their own soul. Christ loves his church and takes personally those who do damage to it in any way.
To those in the Church of Thyatira not involved in this, Christ gave them words of encouragement to hold fast. He also gave great promise to those who would overcome and remain faithful to the end, promising them authority to rule the nations and that they would be given the morning star, speaking of himself.
We too, face the same temptations at the Church of Thyatira to compromise with our pagan culture and allow people to get into the church to undermine and bring division from the true purpose of the gospel of Christ. We too, must guard against yielding to the temptation of bowing to modern-day idols.
Each of us need to make sure we do not have the spirit of Jezebel, but that we are fully surrendered to the plans and purposes of Christ for his church.
As with all seven of the letters, Christ closes with these words: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” If Christ wrote a letter to you or your church today, what would he say? He is speaking. Are you listening? The Rev. Wayne Rutherford LifePointe Church of the