I love this AP story from Oklahoma....
A pastor handed out $14,000 to congregation members to invest for seven weeks, after which they are to bring the money and profits back to the church to be used in missionary work. "The idea has always been in the back of my mind," said Pastor Steve Dyer of the Newsong Church.
Loud gasps were heard throughout the 125-member, interdenominational church as the envelopes containing $100 and $50 bills were ripped opened after the Sunday sermon. Some members thought the bills were counterfeit. Others shook their heads in bewilderment.
Dyer had placed crisp $100 bills in red envelopes for adults and $50 bills in green envelopes for school-age children. "That is going to be a lot of fun," Dyer said. "A lot of people already have ideas."
Teacia Williams, 14, said she is going to use her $50 to purchase newspaper ads advertising her availability to baby-sit. "I plan on doubling the money," she said.
Dyer said the church isn't keeping track of who has the money, but did give one stipulation: it was not to be used to buy lottery tickets or to gamble.When asked what the church will do if someone steals the money, Dyer replied, "That's between them and God."
Dyer preached Sunday about the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-28.
The parable is about a landowner who leaves for a trip, but before leaving gives five talents to one servant, two talents to another servant and one talent to the last servant. When he returns from his trip, the landowner finds that the servants with five and two talents have doubled their talents, but the servant with one portion hid his talent in the ground.
"A talent was worth approximately wages for 15 years," Dyer said. "So this wasn't a small assignment."Scripture shows the servant with the one talent was afraid, he said."
Fear paralyzed him from using his God-given creativeness," Dyer said. "I wanted to challenge our church to not be afraid."