Angie Larson, Alexandria, MN

Warm-up Question

How old should you be  to start your own business? What kind of business would you start?


Hundreds of people have used their time during the pandemic to start a new business. Feyi Raimi-Abraham has used the time to start the Black Dementia Company (BDC).  BDC creates  items such as adult coloring books, puzzles, and calendars featuring Afro-Carribean scenes. Paula Grady applied for over 500 jobs after a pandemic layoff, which led her to start a scented candle business in her own home studio called Osme Candles. Kim Brookes started a luxury scented jewelry company which features jewelry carrying essential oil fragrances for the wearer. 

When asked how they went beyond rejections from hundreds of companies and personal discrimination from those who told them they couldn’t be successful, these women cited their previous life experience. They are 52, 57, and 59 years old. Paula says, “I don’t understand why experience isn’t valued more; companies need people who have been around the block and have encountered situations before. You have life experience and working examples to draw on.”

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think companies rejected Feyi, Paula, and Kim’s endeavors?
  • How would age affect someone’s ability to use their talents to start a business?
  • What emotions would you feel if you were rejected because of your age?

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Matthew 25:14-30

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year A at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

This passage is frequently called the parable of the talents. A master, going on an extended trip, delegates responsibility to his employees. He entrusts each of his servants with a great deal of money (a talent is considered more than 15 years salary).  The first invests wisely and makes an equal amount in return. The second receives two talents and returns two more in profit. The third servant plays it safe.  He hides the money so he can return it to the master in the same state as it was given to him. This makes the master angry.

This story is often misused.  It is interpreted to say that if you give yourself out to the world through your gifts, talents, treasures, prayers, you’ll get an equal amount in return. Yet, God isn’t some cosmic vending machine into which you put something and you get something equal back. The truth of this parable is that we’re given gifts to use, not to hide away in fear.  We put them out there with boldness, knowing that they come from God. Our insecurities, our fear of rejection, and our concern about other people’s judgements often get in the way of using what God has given us. When Christ came, he freed us with his love.  We will never be rejected by God and we will always be loved. We can be brave in this freedom!

Discussion Questions

  • How would you feel if you gave someone a really cool present to use and they never used it?
  • What are some of the things that get in the way of us sharing our gifts, talents, and time?
  • Are there ways in which we sometimes expect God to be like a cosmic vending machine? When have you done that? 

Activity Suggestions

Do a mini-talent show. Ask members of your group to show off their talents; this can work if you’re meeting virtually as well. For example, can they touch their tongue to their nose? Lip sync to a song? Drum a beat using pencils? Perform a sock puppet show? Share your talents.

Closing Prayer

Blessed Savior, We thank you that you gave your whole life for us so that we can be free to help our neighbors with the talents you have given us. Help us to see ways to bring your kingdom to earth in service of our neighbors. Forgive us when we err and guide us to care for the least, the lost, the lowest, and the lonely in our communities. Direct us to use our resources for others. In your name we pray, amen.