Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the LORD… (Isaiah 11:1-2)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Dear Lord Jesus, knowing that it’s possible to “do Christmas” and miss Advent, today I want to fill my heart as full as possible with you. You are the One who has come and is coming again. Isaiah’s words fuel my worship and shrink my worries.
Hallelujah, so many times over! Knowing the government of the whole world already rests on your shoulders fills me with a joy second only to knowing your shoulders fully bore the sin of the world, including mine. As this day begins, I gladly surrender to your reign of grace. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
Advent Reading Plan
During Advent this year we are using the He Reads Truth and She Reads Truth Advent Devos. Readings in this plan will cover the whole of Scripture and directly point us to Christ. We will resume our OPC|M Daily Reading Plan on December 26.
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) for Sunday’s sermon. Go ahead and read the following passage(s) and use theParables Reading Plan + Study Guide to journal what stands out and what you have questions about in the passages. Below is a helpful commentary that can help to fill in the gaps.
Read: Matt 25:14–30 + 1 Pet. 4:10 + Hebrews 12:2
Matthew’s telling of the story emphasizes different aspects of Jesus’ teaching.This time the resources provided for the servants is enormous—approximately two million dollars! Michael Card provides some unique insights, so we will let him guide us in our reading today and conclude once again with Hebrews 12:2.
“[The man] must have been extremely wealthy, because later he will refer to this large sum as “a few things” (Mt 25:21, 23). The master knows his servants well enough to divide the money according to their abilities…In verses 16-18, the servants reveal that the master’s estimates of them had been dead-on…
After a long time, the master returns from his journey and calls the three slaves to come and account for themselves. Just as he had expected, the first slave performed accordingly and doubled his money. For the first time we hear the words we all someday hope to hear: “Well done, good and faithful slave.”…His responsibilities are increased as a reward. Freedom is not the prize; serving the master well is, as is the intimacy of sharing in his joy. In parallel form, the slave who doubled the two talents is commended and rewarded.
Finally, the third slave appears before his master…According to this slave, the master’s expectations are impossible. He expects to reap where he has not even sown. Given the evidence of the parable, nothing could be further from the truth.
The master had “sown” two million dollars among three slaves and had tempered his expectations according to their abilities. The slave’s final excuse: he was afraid and so he simply hid the money…
The master repeats one of the upside-down values of the kingdom in verse 29: “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” We heard this puzzling maxim already in 13:12 in the conclusion of the parable of the soils. When Luke tells the story, he makes clear the disconnection of the statement by having the confused servants object when the first slave receives the ten talents: “But, master, he already has ten” (Lk 19:25, paraphrase).
There is confusion upon the return of the master. Some will be afraid at his coming because they never really understood his lovingkindness. Though they might try to use their confusion as an excuse for their lack of fruit, they will not be excused. But even the productive slaves will still not yet grasp how manifestly gracious and generous the master is when they witness him blessing those who are already blessed with even deeper, incalculable blessings.”
Ponder: Hebrews 12:2 reminds us that Christ is the true and better “faithful servant.” He endured the cross and, his work completed, sits at the right hand of the Father. His “well done, good and faithful servant” becomes our own, so that we can join in with his joy! Meditate upon this beautiful truth. Ask God how he would have you respond today.
Evening Prayer of Examen
Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
The LORD declares to you: The LORD himself will make a house for you…Your house and kingdom will endure before me forever, and your throne will be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:11, 16)