A sermon given during the 6pm Choral Evensong, by The Right Rev’d Chris McLeod, on the 30th of October 2022
Text Luke 19: 11 – 26
The Parable of the 10 Pounds
During the time of Jesus, people were anxious about the Kingdom of God and when God would bring that reign in. It had to do with restoring the Kingdom to Israel. As we probably all know the people of the time were under the rule of the Roman Empire. The people were waiting for the Messiah/King who like King David would clearly be God’s anointed. Hence Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Pounds.
This Parable has been used in several ways. It has been used to promote a degree of financial risk. It has been used to encourage entrepreneurism. It has been used for Planned Giving programs. I’ll give you $10 each and see if you can increase it and bring back $10 or even $100. None of these things are bad in themselves, but the Parable is essentially about what we do with God’s Kingdom while we wait for it to be fully realised.
God’s Kingdom was inaugurated in the person of Jesus, but it awaits to be completed at the end of time. The question is what we will we do while we wait for it.
- Increase the investment
The parable encourages us in the direction of increasing God’s investment. The poor old slave’s response, the one who is punished, is that based on fear he just didn’t do anything. He kept the investment, sat on it, waited, and did nothing. The opposite is true for the 2 others. Their profit differed but they reward was in that they took the investment and increased it. What is Jesus getting at?
Well, the answer is that we have been given the Good News of God’s Kingdom, our response is to help it grow.
- Disciples make disciples – Helping the Kingdom to Grow
At the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop or York, encouraged us to think about Discipleship. That is encouraging people to be follower of Jesus Christ. He put it creatively: McDonalds make hamburgers; Starbucks make coffee; Heineken make beer … and so on. The Christian Church makes disciples. You might have heard our own Archbishop taking up this theme. It is a simple message, really. It is what I call the Church’s core business. Encouraging each other to be followers of Jesus. Where the analogy breaks down, I think, is that we are not trying to encourage uniformity like McDonalds or Starbucks. All of us will have our unique way of being followers of Jesus. Our discipleship will have our name on it!
The clergy and others at the Cathedral do many things, but our main role is to encourage each other, both you and me, to be disciples. That is to be followers of Jesus, celebrating with joy the Good News of the Gospel brought to us, and to reflect upon and follow the teachings of Jesus. Like the parable of the 10 pounds the response will be varied. There will be great success in some places, and more modest in others. The point, however, is that we get on and do it. The one who sits on the Good News and does not act upon it, is the one who fails to see the great opportunities that following Jesus bring.
Now you might say to yourself, that I’m not so good at this sort of thing. I’m not very confident about talking about my faith. I think that is true for many of us. However, we don’t always have to use words. We can show others through acts of kindness, love, and mercy what is central to our lives. A question from someone might just open an opportunity for you to share a little about the Jesus you follow.
- The Pounds and Giving
Last week, I mentioned that we are focussing on our Financial Giving over the next few weeks. I certainly don’t want to labour the point because I know how boring that can be. However, I think it is helpful in this context to highlight that giving to the Cathedral’s ministry not only covers costs, but it also enables us to invest in discipleship, and to provide for mission. We need to pray and think about our financial giving as a central part of our discipleship.
So, we are given 10 pounds in the person of Jesus. How do we respond to it? How do we make it grow?