MATTHEW 25:20-25: “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: How can I prepare for the New Year? It is just a few short days after Christmas, and a few short days before New Year’s Day. Newspapers and Facebook posts are beginning to run their “Year In Review” stories. Many of the stories we will want to forget, and many of the stories we will hold and cherish in our hearts forever. Yet, something draws us to ponder the fruitfulness of our lives. There is a hope that we can enter the New Year with both optimism and the expectation of something greater than that which we have already experienced.
This Sunday I shared with our church family the reality that there is nothing really magical about a New Year. Just because the page of the calendar turns, and the last digit of the year changes, there is no guarantee of what will happen in the days and months ahead. Yet, there is something powerful about drawing a line in the sand, finishing a book, or crossing a finish line. It is this sense of finality that gives us the psychological and emotional ability to close one chapter and begin a new one. And as we have this opportunity, as we see this clean slate ahead, what will we do with it?
The parable of the talents is a wonderful and powerful meditation for the New Year. The master was going away to a far country (close of the Old Year). He entrusted His servants with his goods to steward them while he was away (opportunities for the New Year). And he returned to receive an accounting of what they did while he was away (review of the Past Year).
There is nothing that I can do about this past year except learn from both my failures and my victories. However, as I stand upon the threshold of a New Year, I can make a new choice in how I want to live my life. This is not a time for making lists of “resolutions” that will soon be broken. Rather, it is a time to decide whether I will live my life responding to the Grace of God at each and every step I take, or simply slip back into old patterns of brokenness and sin. The servants that received the talents all had the same opportunity. Before them lay the call to be fruitful with that which was entrusted to them. Everything hinged on how they would respond to their masters call.
God’s Grace is a wonderful thing. Our story is not yet over. A New Year is before us. God’s Grace presents us with a clean slate, a new choice, a fresh opportunity! We can make a choice right now to begin to live empowered and guided by God’s Grace. We can make a choice to invest our lives in the things of the Kingdom of God. We can use our talents and gifts in serving others and sharing the wonderful Gospel of the Kingdom. Grace covers our past and empowers our future. It stands before us with both a provision and a call…
- “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”. (I Corinthians 15:10 NKJV
Grace also holds within it a promise. The promise is that we will hear these cherished words from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ –
- ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’. Oh, how I want to hear these words. Oh, how I need the Grace of God in my life!
Lord, as I look forward to a New Year, empower me by Your Great Grace! May I hear Your Voice, follow Your Commands, and live by Your Grace! I ask You to cleanse the failures of this past year through the blood of Christ. Help me to now walk in newness of life – and enter this New Year, by Grace through Faith!
In Jesus Name!