“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; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 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? 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. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 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. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:24-30) Well, here it is: the text which launched a million stewardship sermons! But before we turn too quickly to money, we would be wise to recall last week’s parable which concluded with the groom informing the five unready bridesmaids that he “did not know them.” (Matthew 25:12) Here the unknowing is on the part of the servant with one talent. He assumes that his Lord is angry and hard and so lives his life accordingly. He buries the talent and himself in the process, forgetting that his master had graciously shared with him. Why do we do that? Why do we fear the very one who has given us so much? The third servant’s problem is not that he was lazy or unproductive. No, his problem is that he is afraid because he does not really know the truth of the Lord who gives. It seems to me that ultimately we do not have a giving problem in the church. Instead, we have a theology problem. We forget that the Lord who invites us to be stewards, loves us with an undying love. We forget that his sharing with us is truly an invitation to become participants in his gracious life of giving. This week, let us correctly remember the truth of our Lord: he is a giver and not a taker. And recalling that, let us joyfully work and joyfully give, anticipating the return of the One who loves us. Have a great week!