It’s a well-known New Testament parable of Christ’s: a master entrusts a sum of talents to each of three servants, two of whom double the investment for him. But the third, fearful and shirking, buries the money and returns it unchanged. The master, to put it lightly, is a lot happier with servants one and two.
This isn’t just a story about savvy venture capitalism, said Rev. Ken Green, of First Presbyterian Church of La Grange—it’s about the charge to use one’s God-given resources to better the community and the planet.
“God has invited us to make a difference in the world,” Rev. Green explained. “God didn’t invite us to be a holy huddle, He wants us to be salt and light in the world, and make a difference in the community around us… If it’s all focused on you, then you’re missing something.”
That’s the spirit behind the “Kingdom Assignment,” a program being enacted at First Presbyterian, based on a widely implemented concept by authors Denny and Leesa Bellesi. Parishioners are granted their own gift of “talents,” and have carte blanche to turn the money into a greater representation of God’s work.
On Sunday, $5,000 was divvyed up among 50 First Presbyterian members, with each receiving $100. In 90 days, they will have to explain how they used it to in some way expand or better God’s kingdom—the church’s interpretation of “the master’s business.”
“What I really hope is that we’ll get a lot of good stories,” said Rev. Green. “I hope they’ll come back with an understanding of themselves as stewards of the gifts they’ve been given, and it will help them think about their responsibility in the world around them.”
He said this could be anything from multiplying the money (like the parable’s servants) for charitable causes, to using it to launch a new opportunity for someone who might not otherwise have it.
“We’re trying to take steps to realize, to live out, the idea of being entrusted with money and wealth for the purpose of spreading God’s kingdom here,” Rev. Green said.
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