Reflections on the Readings for 2 Before Advent, 15th November 2020
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Encourage One Another
Have you ever needed encouragement? I know I have – and perhaps more than ever in these current times we need it more than ever! We all need encouragement—words of support from people who believe in us. This is what the apostle Paul is telling the people in his letter this week. He tells them to “encourage one another and build up each other.”
This is such an important reminder to us all. Just take a moment to think on those times when you have received encouragement. Perhaps it was the encouragement you had from your parents as you were growing up – and I certainly know I’m working hard at encouraging my daughter at the moment as she does he school work at home for two weeks! Perhaps it has been more recent words of encouragement as we try to weather the storms of the pandemic – just being reminded that we’re here for one another.
Now think about how have you felt whenever you received these words of encouragement? Why do you think Paul is reminding Christians to encourage one another? Do we sometimes forget to encourage each other? Let us keep on encouraging and supporting one another, never forgetting the impact such encouragement can have – and not just now in these particular troubled times, but at all times.
Matthew 25:14-30 The Parable of the Talents
Jesus loved to tell stories – parables which open us up to thinking for ourselves and giving a richness far beyond a simple answer or command. This parable of the talents speaks of using what we have been given wisely. It could be as simple as about what we do with our money, (do we give it to God generously, or do we hide it). But it could be about so much more too - about what we do with the gifts God has given us. And each and everyone of us is gifted in different ways – making others laugh, giving those words of encouragement our Thessalonians reading reminds us about or simply being able to listen attentively to others who need to take – and of course a myriad of things besides. God gave us gifts to help others and to serve God. Not using our gifts deprives everyone, and so God calls on us to use what he given us for his glory and everyone’s benefit.