Archive for April, 2018
“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time’” (Luke 12:42)?
The sensible expectation is that each of us will develop and utilize the talents and spiritual gifts entrusted to us. The work that God desires to see accomplished on this earth will not be carried out by faultless, extraordinary, and unusually abled individuals but, rather, flawed, common people with common abilities, uncommonly enabled by the Holy Spirit. In other words, the likes of me and you. The life of service to which we are called isn’t a matter of prayerfully waiting until we are properly equipped before doing something; it’s because we are already powerfully equipped by the Spirit that we need to be doing something.
“Peter said, ‘Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well’” (Luke 12:41)?
Peter’s question captures well our very human tendency to seek out the least common denominator; desiring to find the path of least resistance. It’s the equivalent of a student asking, “Is this going to be on the test.” Though we are saved by grace, and not by works, being a product of God’s grace should create within in us a wanting, reaching, and doing of more; that our lives might reflect a spirit of undying gratitude becoming of one having experienced God’s magnanimous mercies. With such a standard before us, there is no arriving, only continued laboring until His arrival.
“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit” (Luke 12:35).
The urgency of time dominates this passage (vs. 35-40)—readiness, immediately, alert, expect. It’s the reminder of how we should live each day in the awareness of the Master’s return. Our preparedness and readiness is made evident not in the ability to sync the day’s headlines with your favorite apocalyptic bible verse, or the development of flow charts of how it’s all going to happen but, rather, it is seen in the faithful obedience borne out of our lives each day.
“So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
God measures wealth differently. The heavenly treasure grows through lives lived selflessly. In contrast, selfish living pays no eternal dividends because it is fully spent at the moment of death; it has nothing left to offer because the treasury of opportunity, time, talent, energy, and capital has been exhausted on self. Faith longs for a life that serves as a resource for the benefit of others.
“…for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15b).
A popular adage states, “Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything counts that can be counted.” The key is knowing the difference. Man places value on things that can be counted, while God gives weight to those things that cannot. Each of our lives will be defined by something. We can waste it chasing a fluctuating market or we can honor it in the pursuit of a faithful Savior. Market value pales in comparison to eternal worth.
“And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
The security of salvation and eternal life does not mean we are spared from the wounds of battle or the pains of human existence. The very context of today’s promise is the day-to-day struggles in the life of faith. Though there are forces and circumstances that would seek to snatch you out of the Father’s hand, safety and security is yours not because you are hanging on to God but because He is holding you in His hand.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
While we are offered few insights to our heavenly dwelling place, it is a divine inheritance based upon the authority of Jesus’ word. The New Testament abounds with this idea that the people of God are heirs—“Heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14); “Heirs of the Kingdom” (James 2:5); “Heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). What God promises is more than this world could ever offer. The best is yet to come.
“Then He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed…’” (Luke 12:15a).
The ability to “be aware” means we possess the cognitive ability to not only recognize those things detrimental to the life of faith, but also the capabilities necessary to extract ourselves from such destructive situations, personalities, and practices. Being on guard is to know one’s vulnerabilities and taking the steps necessary to posture oneself for success and not failure. Failing to do so is to find one’s self drawn into the herd mentality; following the crowd and doing as everyone else.
“Someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you’” (Luke 12:13-14)?
Even as the teachings of Jesus would seek to elevate our worldview; that we might see and pursue life from a heavenly perspective, there are always those distracting voices, seeking to pull us back down to carnal pursuits. Jesus refuses to give his time and energy to referee a domestic dispute regarding which brother is less greedy. It’s an all too familiar scene, even in today’s world. What it requires is a discerning ear, the ability to focus on the voice of the Spirit while being bombarded with the ambient noise pollution that dominates our world.
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Christianity rises or falls on the reality of the resurrected Christ. If there is no resurrection, then 2000 years of preaching has been for naught, your faith is meaningless, you are still in your sins, the dead are destined to a lifeless grave, and going to church is time that could be better spent on worldly pleasures, children’s athletic and social activities, and other more entertaining pursuits. Thank goodness our strong convictions regarding the resurrection have directed our steps in such a way as to avoid such frivolous endeavors.