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Hebrew Text: Matthew 25:14-20, 22, 24-25 (NIV/NVI)  Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

  • The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.
  • So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.
  • But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five.  ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold.  See, I have gained five more.’  The man with two bags of gold also came.  ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’  Then the man who had received one bag of gold came.  ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

Gospel Reading: 1 Kings 19: 9b-13 (NIV/NVI)  And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?

Weight of the World Last week, Pastora Maritza asked me to be the lector.  The Lector is the formal title of the person who reads the Bible passages to the congregation.  As is often the case, I was to follow her reading of the text in Spanish to the English translation…but in the midst of hearing the text in Spanish I felt something inside of me that I couldn’t contain, and though the Pastora asked that I read the text in English, I read the wrong text…and the Pastora, followed it up by translating for me, and I followed it up by translating her initial reading…

And then she asked me to read the text once more.  And I did.  And as I did, I cried.

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.  To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. Matthew 25:14-15

I was thinking about the weight of the bags of gold.  See, in my mind, for the first time I stopped seeing them as bags filled with pure gold (NIV), or bags full of talents like the King James says, or even bags filled with my God delegated responsibilities and abilities like The Message says, instead I saw these bags filled with a bunch of things that I carry with me, and mixed in there were these talents and abilities that God had delegated to me.

I mean, lets be honest, I carry with me all the things that fit in my bag and more!

  • We carry with us the pain and the hurt of people’s desprecio
  • We carry inappropriate thoughts that stir us up inside (including anger and self-doubt)
  • We carry with us the things people say about us or what we think they say
  • And the things that we believe about ourselves based on what we’ve heard and what we know

And inside that same bag, that bag called the human skin we also carry around God’s

  • talents,
  • abilities,
  • and responsibilities.

All mixed in together with our human failings, faults, and dirt.  And then we go on this journey into “Christianland,” with these bags…”Christianland” that place where Christians go and visit the scriptures, “Christianworld,” that place where we go to worship God and into that place, we carry those bags…

Folded into those bags are our desires to see and be seen, all inside our amazing travel packs!

Question: Other than complaining Last week as I stood here before you, as the Pastora instructed me to stand, my focus was on what God had to say to me, not on anything else…last week the Pastora had us read and listen to the storm that was brewing around Elijah before God asked him, “What are you doing Elijah?”

And I cried, but that time what made me cry wasn’t what the Pastora was saying, it was the realization that that wasn’t the first time God asked Elijah what he was doing.  See, if we read the beginning of Chapter 19, we find out that the first time God asked Elijah that question Elijah didn’t answer God about what he was doing with the talents and the gifts and the responsibilities, instead Elijah went through the list of what other people were doing…

And the word of the Lord came to him: What are you doing here, Elijah?  He replied, I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. [BUT] The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.  1Kings 19: 9b-10

We’ve all been there, let’s remember when we were kids in school.  Sometimes we would do something wrong in class…in my case it was usually talking!  So picture it, my English teacher would be teaching about a book we were all suppose to have a chapter of, and because I like to read, I would be ahead in my readings, so friends that sat around me would ask me to fill them in and I would happily tell them what was going on!  I’d enjoy the telling so much that my friends would start to get into it and we’d stop paying attention to the teacher, and what do you think would happen?…yep the teacher would ask…Elly, what are you doing over there?

Now the most honest answer isn’t always what we choose to share and at that age I didn’t know any better, so I would do exactly what Elijah did.  I’d say well, Mrs. ——–

  • Steve had a problem and he didn’t finish the reading
  • And Arsenio lost his book,
  • And Joanna asked me to tell her the story
  • And, I guess I’m the only one who did her homework, so now because I’m the only one who did her homework, I’m in trouble for helping them out…

It’s really easy to get confused when we are pointing the finger at someone else, I remember hearing that every time we point a finger at someone else, there’s three fingers pointing at ourselves.

Get it together and focus on the question…What are you doing, __________?

Question: What are you doing? Last week, Pastora Maritza asked me to be the lector.  The Lector is the formal title of the person who reads the Bible passages to the congregation.  As is often the case, I was to follow her reading of the text in Spanish to the English translation…but in the midst of hearing the text in Spanish I felt something inside of me that I couldn’t contain, and though the Pastora asked that I read the text in English, I read the wrong text…and the Pastora, followed it up by translating for me, and I followed it up by translating for her….

And then she asked me to read the text once more.  And I did.  And as I did, I cried.

Now do you know what made me cry…it was not the thought that I read the wrong thing it was the weight of what the Pastora read…the weight behind the question… “What are you doing here, Elivette?”

Let’s read 1 Kings 19: 13a one more time…

After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.   Then a voice said to him, What are you doing here, Elijah?  1Kings 19: 11-13

See sometimes in the quiet moments when we are no longer focused on the mess and the chaos, we can finally hear God’s voice clearly.  You know what stood out for me the last time I read this text again…

  • Stop carrying the things that aren’t mine;
  • Stop blaming everyone else for my issues;
  • Stop putting other things before God;

The noise isn’t going to go away, the stuff that’s in my bag isn’t going to go away.  But that stuff doesn’t matter.  The gifts that are in that bag, the things that God gave me are my responsibility and need to be my priority.  Even through the noise.  If the noise is getting too loud, if my eyes are too focused on the things around me then maybe I need to be like Elijah and cover my eyes as I stand still and do what God called me to do.

  • Stop listening to those voices and let it be about just you and God;
  • Listen to the voices that God has PURPOSEFULLY put around you;
  • Get out of your own head and let God, be God

What were you called to do…not just with your talents but with your being…

I was called to Worship.  I know that we are doing this out of order, but now I invite you to worship.

Pastoral Prayer and Benediction In Numbers 6:23–26, God instructed Moses that Aaron and his sons were to bless the Israelites in this way: The Lord bless you and keep you;the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”  Amen!

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