Mousey Moment … Called to be Fruitful
Emily Dickinson is a famous American poet who lived a rather unusual life. As an adult she rarely left her home and during the time that she lived “hidden away” she preferred wearing white dresses. She wrote nearly two thousand poems, but she hid most of her poems away as well. Only five of her poems were published during her lifetime. After she died her sister found her poems and they were published into books of poetry.
How fortunate for the world that her poems were found and that others valued them enough to see that they were published. All of the poems of Emily Dickinson have now been published and thousands of readers take pleasure in the beauty and rhythm of her words.
Jesus tells a story, which is recorded in the Bible, about the problem of hiding your talents. In Biblical times a talent was a type of money. The story Jesus told is this: The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25 v14-30). ‘A man called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey’.
After a long time he came back and found that the servant who had been given five talents put the money to good use and made five more talents. The servant who had been given two talents did the same thing and made two more talents. The servant who had been given one talent was afraid, dug a hole in the ground and hid his talent. His talent (money) did not increase.
God gives each person gifts “according to his ability.” These gifts, or what we now think of as talents, are entrusted to us. That means we are trusted by God to take care of these talents and put them to good use so others can benefit from our gifts. Find your talent, don’t hide it; share it with the world.
If you’ve been watching the trees you know that Autumn is here. As the weather starts to get colder the trees get ready for winter by dropping their leaves – and in the case of some trees, dropping their seeds all over the ground. As I take my dog for a walk along the River Leven as it flows through Stokesley, the paths are covered with conkers which have dropped from the horse chestnut trees along the way. I love to watch the leaves turn colours, but I hate to see them all drop off. But as for the seeds, I’m always glad to see them fall. That’s because the seeds help to make new trees. And so what started as one tree will hopefully become more. What a waste it would be if that tree never dropped its seeds.
In this, our Harvest gospel lesson, Jesus tells the story that’s not so different. Like many of Jesus’ stories, he tells this one to help teach us a lesson: God doesn’t want us to hide our gifts and blessings. Instead he wants us to use them to spread his love and his message in the world. When we do, we help inspire others to do the same. It’s like we’re planting seeds that keep growing more and more of God’s works in the world.
Will you work on planting God’s seeds by spreading your kindness and love this month?
This Harvest time we have been giving thanks to God for his wonderful creation and the great gifts he has given to us – the fruits of the earth, the wonderful creatures and the diversity of landscapes. God has also generously given us many other things – the gift of his Son, the gift of his teaching, the gift of his Spirit, the gift of each other, and each of us having different gifts and skills. It is wonderful that each of us can bring our individual gifts together, where we complement, bless and strengthen one another.
Called to be fruitful
God wants us to take all that he has given to us and to put it to use for his kingdom. Rev Andrew gave us all a ‘piece’ of silver during our Harvest Festival & set us the challenge of multiplying that little coin into more.
In Zimbabwe, poor rainfall has resulted in failed harvests. Sadly, no matter how hard people are working and are using their skills, the drought-affected land is not producing crops. Clearly, to keep working at something that is failing, when the conditions are not changing, is not a worthwhile investment. This is why All We Can (The Methodist Relief & Development Organisation) is supporting work with these communities, which brings them together to think imaginatively and enterprisingly about what they can do with their gifts and resources, so that they might be able to provide for their families’ most basic needs. All We Can works with a local organisation supporting groups of families to develop various businesses, depending on their own gifts and skills, and what is needed in the local communities. For example, some groups might start a business with chickens to sell the eggs; others might develop gardens to sell the vegetables, while others might keep chickens, pigs and goats to sell for meat. By having a diverse range of businesses, they can benefit from selling produce to each other and enjoy a more nutritious diet.
With our donation of ‘silver’ we have the opportunity to give to All We Can, and help people in some of the world’s poorest communities to find solutions to poverty, and become all that they can.
In fact – we could think of our lives, our local and global communities, as fields where God has planted seeds, and that we are responsible for nurturing and getting the best harvest from them.
Dear God, We know that you don’t want us to hide our light from the world. Help and guide us this month as we work to spread your love to others. Amen.