Posted in sermons & addresses

Well-done, good and faithful servant!

Grace Ncube, Chair, Board of Trustees, awards Diploma in Theology to graduate Lindley April
Mrs. Grace Ncube, Chair, Board of Trustees, awards Diploma in Theology to graduate Lindley April as I look on.

Today was a tremendous day at Nazarene Theological College as 7 received their Diploma in Theology and 12 were awarded the Bachelor of Theology. Here is the address that I delivered to the graduates.

– Greg

“Well-done, good and faithful servant”

An address on the occasion of the 22nd Annual Commencement Exercises

Nazarene Theological College

Muldersdrift, South Africa

Gregory Crofford, Ph.D. — Regional Education Coordinator

March 16, 2013

Dr. Filimao Chambo (in absentia), Rev. Collin Elliott (in absentia), Rev. Mashangu Maluleka, Members of the Board of Trustees, District Superintendents, Pastors, Graduates of the class of 2013, students of NTC, parents, friends, honored guests, all protocols observed –

Jesus, teller of parables

Our Lord Jesus Christ was a man of the people. He knew their hopes and fears, their dreams and their disappointments. For 33 years, he walked among them as one of them, showing them both the dangers of self-love and the joy of loving God and others.

The Parable of the Talents retold

Jesus had a way of speaking to the people in their own language, and they loved him for it. His parables connected with people right where they lived. One such story is recounted in the 25th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. The master was going on a journey, but before leaving, he called to him three of his servants. To the first he gave 5 “bags of gold” (as the TNIV puts it), to the second 2 bags of gold, and to the last servant, 1 bag. Some translations use the word “talent,” which was equivalent to 20 years of a day laborer’s wages.

Some time later, the master returned and called his servants in to give an account of the money that he had entrusted to them. “Look,” said the first servant. “You gave me 5 talents. I have gained five more!”  The master was delighted, and replied: ‘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!’ Likewise, the man who had been entrusted with two talents came before his master, carry an additional two talents. He, too, received the blessing of his master. But the third man came before the master with a single bag of gold. “Here is the talent you entrusted to me,” 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.”

The master was furious. “So you knew I was a hard man?” he demanded. “Then at very least you could have put the bag of gold on deposit at the bank so I would have it back with interest.” The master confiscated the bag of gold and gave it to the servant who already had 10 bags. He concluded: “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them”(Matt. 25:29).  The story has a very sad ending. The master orders that the servant be thrown outside into the darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Traditionally, preachers have three points to their message, but today, let’s look at four lessons gleaned from the parable of the talents.

Continue reading “Well-done, good and faithful servant!”

Posted in ecclesiology & sacraments, reflections

Doing church God’s way

A Sunday morning drive in our '63 Chevy Impala meant we'd soon be at church.
A Sunday morning drive in our ’63 Chevy Impala meant we’d soon be at church.

I was just a boy of three. It was Sunday, and time to go to church.

We lived near Clinton, New Jersey, but because there was no Nazarene church nearby, my parents loaded me and my two older brothers into our ’63 Chevy Impala. We drove 45 minutes down the highway to the Edison Church of the Nazarene.

When I would see the turn-off ramp, I would know that we were close to church. Excitedly, I’d say to my father: “Church, Dad!” I’d keep repeating the phrase until Dad would give-in and respond: “Yes, church, Greg.” I’d then make the rounds: “Church, Mom!” Finally, I’d insist on the same “Yes, church, Greg” response from my older brothers, David and Mark. It was a fun game…at least the first thirteen times.

My brothers grew tired of it. As we climbed into the Chevy the next Sunday morning, they made their case. “Dad,” they pleaded, “Tell Greg he can’t say that anymore. It’s annoying.” One parental lecture later, I’d learned my lesson. As we got to the turn-off this time, I solemnly intoned: “I’m not going to say ‘church, Dad.” When there was no response, I repeated: “I’m not going to say ‘church, Dad.”

What was true for me as a young boy is still true today: Being excited about going to church depends upon understanding what church is all about.

Continue reading “Doing church God’s way”