Don’t bury your talents!

10 Oct 2021 by Gail Hinton in: Sermons

Welcome to the Church

Welcome to worship everyone. Thank you for taking the time to sit and view this online service. Even though we are apart physically we know that God’s Spirit connects us in ways beyond our understanding.

This service is the second of a series of three in which the sermon is a brief reflection of the pre-recorded Zoom chats. The people you will watch today are all talented in their own unique and God gifted way. I hope this service makes you wonder about your own unique gifts and how you can best contribute to the health and vitality of our church built upon the one Lord Jesus Christ.

Call to Worship

In this moment in time
we come before you O Lord,
ready and willing to be renewed, refreshed, and transformed.

Search us and see us for who we truly are,
test us and know our thoughts.

Hymn: You creator God have searched me​

Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Most wonderful God,
it is you who inspires every noble thought
and every loving deed.

You generously give us all that we need and require
to become your partners in reconciling the world,
and to bear the Good News and bring peace.

For the gift of life,
for the gift of friends and family,
for the gifts your Spirit bestows on us
we praise you and adore you.


(and now in a moment of silence let us invite God’s Spirit to search us and reveal to us the times when we have failed to live in Christ.

Prayer of Confession (based on the words of John Ortberg)

Lord we often act as if our souls have caught the common cold.

We trudge through life as if it is something to endured
instead of something to be grateful for.

The joy and wonder of life get pushed aside
and we fall victim to the boring and mundane hours.

Weeks become months
months become years
and we look back
at deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations we never had:
Great bold prayers we never prayed,
Exhilarating risks we never took,
sacrificial gifts we never offered,
and lives we never touched.

Lord renew us and inspire us,
help us to see a world of desperate need,
and to hear your calling to be part of something
bigger than ourselves.

When you call, may we follow
and joyfully use all the gifts
your Spirit has bestowed on us.

You Lord, see us as the people we are destined to become,
for in Christ we are a new creation;
everything old has passed away;
see the new has come!

All this is from God,
who reconciled us to himself through Christ.
hear then Christ’s word of grace to us:
‘Your sins are forgiven’

Thanks be to God

Bible Reading 1: Matthew 25:14-29

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Interview 1: Joshua and Anna


I asked Joshua and Anna, what they liked about the parable of the Talents. Joshua said he likes the way in which the parable tells us that God has given each of us talents and gifts and that we should use them while we have the time and not let them go to waste. Anna reflected that this parable makes us think about God’s purpose for our lives and how we can use our talents to serve others and glorify God. Anna suggested that the servant with only talent didn’t appear to share the same loving and intimate relationship with the master as the other two slaves. This tells us that need to be thankful for the gifts we have and remain close to Jesus through prayer.

Anna said that when we was a child she thought it was unfair that one of the salves only received one talent (so did I) but that as an adult she noticed that they were given a gift according to their abilities. This reflects the diversity, uniqueness, and opportunities our gifts afford us. Anna also wondered what would have happened if one of the servants made a loss. I suggested that if the servant made a loss, at least he had tried, and the master may have been a lot more understanding.

I then asked Joshua, what he likes doing. Joshua said he likes every sport except cricket (sorry cricket fans). Joshua also loves being outside and exploring nature. Anna spoke about the gifted and talents she sees in Joshua. anna said that Joshua is very sporty and athletic and musically talented (although anna suggested he should put more effort into that last one). Joshua also draws and showed the camera piece of his artwork. Anna said Joshua has a very positive attitude to learning and highlighted his very unique gift from God as being his gentle, calm, non-aggressive personality. Joshua treats other with respect and has a gentle heart and spirit that will certainly be used by God.


Interview 2: Eva and Komal and Sue


Sue showed us the actions to the song, God made Me, a song from Mainly Music. This song tells us that we are all unique and special in our own way, we don’t have to be like everyone else. Sue spoke about the joy everyone feels at Mainly Music and the joy and love she observes between the children and their parents. When the group sings God Made Me, Sue observed that the love of God is visible not only in the song lyrics but in everyone’s interactions.

Eva and Komal were asked, “What kind of things does Eva love to do?” Eva, loves colouring, reading her books to her grandparents and doing puzzles. When Komal looks at Eva, she sees her as a gift from God, who brings joy and love to the family. Komal described Eva as creative, always making up new games with the same toys. Eva is enthusiastic and always ready to learn new things. I remarked “if only we could bottle that energy and attitude to life.”


Interview 3: Lynell


Question: In the Parable of the Talents the slave who was given the least goes and buries it because he was scared. Do you think that we often hide and bury the gifts God has given to us?

Lynell agreed that yes, it is partly due to fear but also fear of failure and not being able to live up to our own expectations. We are also afraid to commit and to pursue what we have been given. We may think we are not the best person to be able to do a certain task and we are often reluctant to step out of our comfort zones. We all need to encourage one another to use our gifts and take responsibility for the gifts we have been given.

Question: When I look at you Lynell, I see a very talented person, using their talents to serve God. Do we sometimes think we need to have glamorous/flashy talents? what are other gifts that may not be as noticeable.

When we look at our congregations many people are doing things in the background, and we often don’t see this. Lynell said, “the quiet workers are often the ones that make things happen”. God gives us different talents and it would be so boring if we all had the same talent. It takes all kinds and God in his wisdom gives us different gifts so we can all contribute in our own way, for example we can be very good with our hands, at craft, or be good gardeners.

Sometimes we can feel threatened by the gifts of others instead of being happy and joyous about the gifts we have been given. Lynell often reminds her granddaughter that we must never feel envious and compare ourselves to others because we never truly know the other person’s circumstances.

Question: How can we discover our own gifts and talents?

It is often easier to observe another person’s gifts and talents. I suggested that if we want to discover our gifts and talents we should perhaps be asking each other.

Lynell spoke about discovering her own musical talents at ten years of age. Lynell decide to become a piano teacher despite the fact that not that she was not that good or even dedicated to practice. When Lynell looks back she can see that God opened the doors for this dream to come true. God opened the doors for Lynell to become a church leader and to go to college to become a Specialist Music Teacher. Lynell has used her teaching skills wherever God has taken her. Using our gifts is a matter of taking the opportunities God give us. Lynell spoke about God’s wisdom teaching her more about her gift of singing. Lynell has never stopped learning. Her gifts and passions have aligned, and she has used them in the service of God.

Question: When every member of a congregation participates in being the church what difference does it make?

Lynell said that when we all of us our talents the church becomes stronger. Just like the analogy of the church being a body, all members need to be healthy. When one part is weak it affects the whole body. If we use our talents for God we become a healthy vital church, growing in a number of ways. As aging churches this is not easy, but we can only experiment and try things and see what works. Thanks be to God.

Bible Reading 2 and 3

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (New Revised Standard Version)

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.


1 Peter 4:10-11 (New Revised Standard Version)

10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11 Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Sermon: a reflection on the zoom interviews and the proclamation of the Good News

There is a great deal of wisdom in the words of the people we have listened to in this service. There is also great joy, and I hope you have found that inspiring. It is apparent that when we use our gifts, talents, and creativity we discover the child like joy of playing, experimenting, learning, and growing. Not using our talents however can lead to boredom and ultimately it is a waste of a life, it is like having beautiful and precious crockery set stored at the back of the cupboard and never taking it out of the box in case it gets broken.

John Ortberg describes burying our talents in the following dark description of a life,

You can drift, get up, go to work, come home, eat supper, watch TV, retire, and die OR you can take each moment and say, “God, this is yours.” You can offer him your spiritual giftedness (not compared with anyone else) as fully realised and developed as you can get it, that is life, a life celebrated with joy, sacrifice, and vitality.

If you are wondering about our own approach to life and the gifts God has given you, here is a question to ponder. Take some time to imagine a scene where you and God review your life together. What single step could you take today to most minimize the regret factor at the end of your life?

Yes, taking our gifts out of the box and using them is risky but the spiritual gift God gives to each of us is too precious not to be used. It has been said that there is no tragedy like the tragedy of the unopened gift.

The good news is that our Lord, the Lord of the Gift, promises to be with us every step of the way, through the highs, the lows, the failures, and the victories. So don’t be afraid.

Through our spiritual gifts and talents may God be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Hymn: Take this moment


We bless you, Lord God for your free unmerited gift of grace.

Knowing that each member of Christ’s body
contributes to the whole
we bring our gifts in gratitude
so that through your Christ’s enabling Spirit,
we can grow in love and service.


Prayers of Intercession


May God bless us and make us pure and holy in His sight.

May the peace of God abound in us.

May He instruct us with the Word of Wisdom and inform us with the Gospel of Salvation,
and may His guiding Spirit enrich us and cast out all fear,
in and through the love of Christ.

Closing Hymn God made me. (Mainly Music)

Next Week: 17 October, 2021
Theme: Witnessing to Wonderfulness.
Readings: Psalm 104:1-9 and John 4: 7-30, 39-42.
Lectionary Readings:
Job 38:1-7, 34-41, Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c, Hebrews 5:1-10 and Mark 10:35-45