Holland Methodist Church

Month: November 2021

Pause and Reflect


“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money” Matthew 25:14-18.

Years ago, I started piano lessons with Teacher, free of cost. I didn’t mind the “Sit up straight”, but I could not appreciate the sound and after-effects of the ruler on my knuckles. I abandoned the opportunity and have lived to regret it.

Have you ever heard the saying: “God will supply us with the opportunity, but it’s up to us to do something with it”? Taking advantage of our God-given opportunities is precisely the message of our text. The focus is on the servant who failed to use his opportunity and ended up losing the little he had.

The context of this Advent parable is the departure and anticipated return of Jesus. In this perspective, Jesus directs the listeners’ attention to the issues of faithfulness, preparedness, and risk, rather than to the obsession with speculating about when Jesus will come again. Waiting and watching for Jesus’ return requires being good stewards of our resources and opportunities. In the parable, two of the servants took advantage of their opportunities; the third did not. When viewed from this perspective, this is a disturbing story about what we Christians do or do not do with our opportunities while we await the manifestation of the Kingdom of God and the second coming of Jesus.

The three servants fall into two categories: faithful and unfaithful. The faithful servants took their opportunities and put them to work for their master. The unfaithful servant refused to use his opportunity. He buried it. Ironically, whereas his master expressed confidence in him, he judged his master to be a harsh man.

It is worth observing that the servant who buried his talent was not a dishonest servant who was out to get whatever he could from his master. There is no hint of fraud, deceit, or scandal. He seemed to have had no plans to embezzle the funds or to swindle his master. Furthermore, there is no indication that he was a philanderer or a prodigal out having a good time. Far from it! Discretion, caution, and deliberateness were his virtues. Unfortunately, his virtues became vices.

Friends, prudence can become impeding self-protectiveness and restraint. If we are not guided by a higher power and principles, that which is our strong point can weaken us. In this case, his inhibition turned to fear, and the servant ended up refusing to grasp his one opportunity.

By doing nothing, he committed a sin and robbed his Lord of service and increase. The Master reprimanded the servant for wasting his opportunity, and took this opportunity away from him, giving it to the one who had made the best use of his opportunity.

Opportunities are all around us: opportunities to witness for Jesus; to lend a helping hand to a child or to someone in need; to assist an individual financially; to say an encouraging word to a disheartened person; to tell of the goodness of God; to see and appreciate the beauty of creation, and many more. Only God knows why some people are given more opportunities than others. So having opportunities is not really the issue, because we all have been awarded something. Therefore, let us ask God to make us alert enough to grasp and use the opportunities given to us.

Thought: What we do not use for the Lord, we are in danger of losing.

Prayer: Providing God, help us to be aware of the opportunities you give to us, and to use them according to your good pleasure and your glory. Amen.

Bishop, The Rev’d Everald L. Galbraith
President of Conference

First Sunday of Advent – Hope

Sisters and Brothers,

It is Advent again. A new liturgical year has begun.

Notwithstanding the changes and challenges experienced through twenty-one months of dealing with COVID-19, time moves on. We are moving toward the fulfilment of God’s plan. The Advent Hope, which we hold as Christians, is ever before us.

Even now, God is calling us to greater things, to do and be better than we ever dreamed, to always keep moving towards the very best. We can move confidently into God’s future as we acknowledge God’s hand guiding, providing, protecting and delivering in the past. Yes, we can recall the good in the past for reminders that stimulate hope. Then we anticipate that God will lovingly take us forward in time. For this we ought to cooperate with God’s Spirit.

Knowing that the Lord walks alongside and with us in the present is truly enabling. We recognise that God who has kept us in times past, who is alongside us in present successes and struggles, is the One whom we know in Jesus Christ- the same yesterday, today and forever. This gives us every reason to willingly put our future in God’s hands.

So then, Advent brings past, present and future in an unending scheme of things that are under God’s control. Recalling past good, and celebrating God’s presence in the now, are the bases for our confidence in what is to come.

So, no matter how challenging the present might be, hope is our watchword. And as a people of hope, we must certainly bring hope into situations that would provoke hopelessness in others. Advent is a good time to act decisively in bringing help, hope and heart action that can change sad hearts into thankful ones. Let us do to, with and for others, as much good as we can to show the love of God. Causes will be mentioned in our gatherings. Let us take them seriously. And be as generous as we can with our time, actions and service supported by our prayers. We can trust God to let the very best issue from such offerings. In God is hope and hope is alive!

This, this is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend whose love is as great as His power
And neither knows measure nor end.
‘Tis Jesus, the first and the last, whose Spirit shall guide is safe home.
We’ll praise Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that’s to come.

Joseph Hart (1712-69) VIP#29

Yours in God’s service
Joan Delsol Meade

1 John 2:15-16

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; 16 for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Joshua 24:15

15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”