Outstretched Arms of Love: Day Twenty Two, Saturday

In this Lenten series I would like to invite you to consider Jesus’ “outstretched arms of love” toward all who followed him as disciples, seeking to emulate his life, self-sacrifice, and humble service to others. Today we will reflect on one distinct time and way Jesus stretched out his arms of love to all who beheld his glory, believed his message, belonged as his disciples, and sought to become more and more like his image and with more of their true identity in Christ Alone.

Read Matthew 25: 14-30

The Parable of the Talents is also a Kingdom parable, designed to portray those who understand God’s desire for our fruitfulness in life. Those who think they know more about God than they truly do, end up missing out on the greatest of all gift of eternal life. The contrast is stark and the outcome is either blessed or bleak depending on where one lands in stewarding talents received and assigned by God.

The story is about a man who before heading out on a long journey calls his servants together, and entrusts his property to them while he’s away. To one he gave five talents, to another he gave two talents, and to the third he gives one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The one with five talents put his money to work and gains five more. The one with two talents did likewise and gains two more. But the one with one talent dug a hole and buried his master’s money.

After a long time had passed, the master of those servants came home and settled accounts with them. The man with the five talents brought those back and five more. The one with two did likewise and presented to the master two more. Both men’s stewardship pleased the King, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” However, the one with one talent simply brought that one talent back, thinking the master was a hard man, harvesting where he did not sow and gathering where he did not scatter seed. The talent was taken from him and given to those who had more.

That “worthless servant” was then thrown outside into the darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. This harsh punishment was brought upon by his bizarre rationale and illogical conclusions. His choices kept him out of the Kingdom. But, the reality of the Kingdom is that it won’t be for everyone. Some will choose to say yes to God’s invitation, initiation, and intention, while others will simply reject God and his ways. Therefore, everything we have has come from and belongs to God, and is to be stewarded with generosity, shared for the glory of God and offered as a blessing to others.

How well are you stewarding all you’ve been entrusted to for God’s glory? Is there a portion of your talents you’re hiding from the Father’s heart? We all long to someday hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” as we’re ushered into God’s Kingdom forever.  In the meantime, it’s best to steward and multiply that which we’ve been entrusted to care for in this life.

Today, openly receive all that God’s outstretched arms of love offers. Behold the generosity of Jesus; believe that you are richly blessed to be a blessing; belong to all good and faithful stewards; and become a servant who desires nothing more than to please the Master forever.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.