When I was working with students, back in the day, I used the Parable of the Talents once a year.
As students appeared to begin their University lives I could sense that those from a sheltered conservative background were most determined to stay safe from the big bad world.
The theory was that if you could stay out of the bottom bar of the Queens Students Union and avoid drink and those without a faith then maybe you could get through University without getting tainted or back sliding.
Now I lived in what might have been a very safe Hall of Residence so many parents prayed that their children would get in there and be safe.
I remember one mother phoning (apologies if it was you) and when I explained that I didn’t have any more rooms she almost broke down at the thought of her son in the Elms Halls with non Christians. He might even have to share a room with one.
To encourage her I spoke about a friend of mine who came to faith in Jesus because he had to share a room with another friend of mine in those exact Halls. "That’s what happened to me," she said. I couldn’t quite believe the conversation.
Anyway I always warned my students against playing safe with the talent God had given them. This parable was against digging holes and hiding so that we wouldn’t get tainted or grazed.
This parable was God telling us that he had gifted us an abundance of faith and spiritual gifts and that we were to be out there taking risks in the world to extend the Kingdom of God.
If we were the light of the world I suggested there was no point in shining in the light. It was the dark we were called to. Get out of the hole. Get down from the ivory tower. Playing safe is not an option. Ask Jesus.
Listen to the full sermon from November 19th 2023 here: