March 20, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16.13)
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil whereby many have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6.10)
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
It is not a far reach to see the connection between the two verses posted above: one cannot serve two masters simultaneously (or, I dare say, even vascillating between one and the other) and the love (devotion and commitment to pursue) of money is the root of all kinds of evil. One of my many assignments as an instructional leader was to help students learn how to make good decisions; especially when it came to taking tests. There are test taking strategies that also serve well as life strategies. Yes, I know that many of you still think that the best “test” strategy is cheating by whatever means devised which suits your purpose. I even remember “cheating” one time on a high school government test. It came on the day after my 18th birthday. Let’s say that in celebration of that long-anticipated day, I had celebrated a bit inappropriately in the drinking department. I did win the pool game, however, while listening to Jerry Jeff Walker playing on stage in a Dallas establishment. The next morning, however, was not a celebration. So, how did I “cheat”? Well, my classmates around me decided they would help me by giving me answers to the questions. I had enough sense left in me to know that something was wrong with their answers. Whether it was intentional or not, surely they did not relish the thought of me failing a test, I used their “wrong” answers to navigate the multiple choice questions. I scored an “A” while they, for the most part, did not. It was not an experience I ever cared to duplicate, at least not intentionally. But, as I said, test-taking strategies can also be good life-passing strategies. Life rarely gives us essay questions. Usually they are multiple-choice questions with plenty of choices which are more bad than good. They are also “true-false” questions. I learned early on from a wise instructor that “if something in the statement is wrong, then the whole statement is wrong.” There is no “partial credit” in a true-false test. Even if there was, then the answer choice would be “if mostly true or mostly false: tell me why.” I think that is generally reflective of the way life is presented to us in the world. Sadly, many would risk true or false and get it wrong that to choose answer “C” and defend the answer.
The “third” option is mostly the way life is intended to be lived; especially if we are mighty ones of God and believe that Jesus is the Christ- our Lord and Savior. Being commissioned to pursue the calling of “disciple makers,” we are broadcasters of the gospel of Jesus the Christ as the singular “way, truth and life” which leads into the full presence of God and live. Only by the state of righteousness do we have such hope. Remember, Paul wrote to the community of faith in Corinth, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5.21) There is, as John shared, only one way by which we can enter into the Kingdom of God in Heaven and that is through the door of eternal life which is Jesus Christ. He is the Good Shepherd of this earthly flock. He is given this flock to claim, cultivate and prosper for the good of the flock and the glory of God. He came to seek and to save those who were of the flock but became lost. We were all lost since the day when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation to believe otherwise. But, we are more than mere broadcasters of the seed and thus are blessed to harvest the fruit of that seed. We are also defenders of the faith which the gospel of Christ proclaims. We are as Ezekiel’s vision of “watchmen on the wall” scanning the horizon near and far for the approach of the enemy. We are to give warning to those given into our charge during our watch. We are to remain diligent, fastidious and demonstrate integrity to the task which is our calling. We are also missionaries sent out into the world to plant, cultivate, harvest, prosper and defend the word of God. Filled with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and blessed with the on-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, we proclaim the acceptable name of our Lord and life is renewed, revived, reconciled and restored to its rightful place within the community of faith where it always belonged.
This is where our “rubber meets the road.” How much integrity do we demonstrate in our commitment to be mighty ones of God, believers in Jesus as the Only Christ and co-workers within the Body of Christ sharing our gifts, talents, abilities, resources and determination to build up one another until we have attained the full measure of the stature of Christ in whose image we have been made and remade? Are we fully equipped by every good work having put on the full armor of God? Do we know and do we realize “that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness and against the spiritual forces of evil even in the heavenly realms“? (Ephesians 6.12) Dare we defeat our own calling by being double-minded and double-willed believing that we can serve two masters loving both equally and the same? If one part of us is false, then we are all false and the preaching of the gospel is a lie! (1 Corinthians 15.14) And believe me when I offer this reflection, the world is watching and judging. Just as Satan is like a prowling lion prepared to claim his prey, stalking in our homes and our neighborhoods and our communities and our communities of faith and in our nation and in our nation’s capitol and in our own hearts, minds and spirit, he is prepared to call those of his like mind to not be doubled-minded and double-willed. He is training them to devour you and us. We must be sober-minded in the spirit and at the ready daily to share and defend the faith and those who are coming to faith because we are disciples of Christ. And how will they know we are His disciples? He said it clearly, “They will know you by this love: no greater love is there than this than you love one another.” So let it be written, so let it be done.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father, into Your hands we commend our spirits and the earthen vessels in which they dwell so that while we are yet drawing a breath here on earth it is the breath of God which proceeds in every word we declare with our mouths and with our lives to say, “Jesus is Lord of All.” Amen.