Do you have some things that are weighing heavy on your heart? Perhaps these weighty issues come in the form of character flaws that are embarrassing to you. Maybe you are drawn to some specific recurrent sin in your life. What do you do with these weighty issues? If you have tried to bury these struggles and flaws, wishing for them to be dead and gone, perhaps God is calling you to dig up those old bones. Please read more.
Diggin’ Up Bones is a song recorded by American country music artist Randy Travis. It was released in July 1986. Ironically this song was on an album called “Storms of Life.” Contained in that song are these lyrics: I’m diggin’ up bones, I’m diggin’ up bones exhumin’ things that’s better left alone.
Is this how we feel about our recurring sins and our personal faults? Do we see these things as something “better left alone?” Maybe our “storms of life” issues are better left buried and only known to us. But, maybe not. Perhaps God is prepared to use our weaknesses in a positive way.
To make my point I want to ask everyone to take a new and radically different look at the Parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30 with a fresh set of eyes.
Typically when we think of the word talent, we think of the modern definition: “a natural aptitude or skill.” We might also think of other synonyms such as: flair, ability or expertise. When reading this Gospel message, the most common interpretation is to assume that Jesus was calling us to use our skills wisely. However, at the time that Jesus spoke this parable, the people would have been familiar with the word talent as an ancient form of measurement, much like we use the word pound today. Most scholars believe that a talent was quite heavy, maybe as much as 60 pounds. A talent, as a unit of measure, was frequently used to value gold or silver. The important thing for us to know is that a talent was something heavy.
For our purposes today, I want you to reflect on the parable, but I want you to do so with the second definition in mind. Is it possible that the “talent” given to each servant was something heavy or weighty? If so, we still know that two of the servants managed to do something positive with the weight/talent they were given. The third servant, sadly, just buried his talent.
When the third servant was confronted by his master with the question about why he buried the talent, this was his answer: “Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.”
Try to think of your own flaws, sins and short comings, all of which are heavy and weigh you down, as the talents referred to in the parable. Now let me ask you this: don’t we bury our sins for the very same reason that the servant buried his? Don’t we bury these weighty issues in our life out of fear of what others might say if they knew we had these struggles?
On the other hand, it seems that if we make ourselves vulnerable and if we openly speak about our brokenness and how through our sins, we have encountered God’s mercy and forgiveness, we can bring glory to God.
All people have sin in their lives. We don’t have to bury the fact that we do too. The master’s response to the third servant who buried his “talent” was: “Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?”
Let me leave you with a few questions to mull over as we continue our Lenten journey. Is there beneficial affects to telling others about our sins? By telling others about our brokenness, do we gain strength to better confront these sins and struggles? When we acknowledge the mercy of God in our lives, does it help others experience the same mercy of God in their life? By digging up the bones of life that we have buried, in other words as used in today’s message our “talents,” is it possible that God will gain interest on the mercy he has so freely given us?
Almighty and amazing God, I am blessed to know that you can even use the brokenness in my life for the good of your kingdom. Give me the courage to tell others about the mercy and forgiveness you have shared with me, amen.
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