Archive for June, 2017

Thanks Bill

Who then is a faithful and wise steward? Luke 12:42

Procrastination is a fierce enemy of Christlikeness. I struggle with it, too.

This week’s column is dedicated to my friend Bill. I hope you have a Bill in your life. He models Jesus in all-consuming ways. And, he sends me a text every Sunday morning that almost always hits me right between the eyes. He is a messenger, encourager, and teacher from God. Here is what he said last Sunday:

   In the Bible a steward is someone who has been selected to manage wealth. 
   In Luke 12:42 the LORD asks “who then is a faithful and wise steward?” 
   Wealth tends to corrupt in our hands and takes our mind off God. Each one
   of us should realize that we are only stewards of that which God has given us.
   Our prayer then ought to be one that seeks wisdom from God in spending the
   wealth He has given us, to the glory of God! Be blessed!

Bill is a man of modest means, so I am wondering if he has received a huge inheritance and not told me yet…Expand “wealth” to include stuff, health, relationships, responsibilities, opportunities, time, spiritual gifts, Christian life/sanctification/holiness, and godliness. After all, a steward is a manager of the Master’s household—of life.

Dig into the words of Jesus in Luke 12:35-48. Luke has just told his hearers it is the “Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (12:32). The kingdom of God—the rule and reign of Christ—has begun within us (17:21) and is actually coming (12:40). We are a waiting people, and while we wait for Jesus to return He asks us to be watching and tending to the life He has already given us. Such a person is “dressed for action” (12:35) and will be “blessed.”

The character of the life of a wise steward-manager is they are “faithful and wise.” Procrastination is our fierce enemy, tempting us to be unfaithful and unwise. One commentator writes, “The faithful manager pictures the genuine believer, who manages well the spiritual riches God has put in his care for the benefit of others…such spiritual stewardship will result in honor and reward.”

The most attention-grabbing words to me in Luke 12 are what it says about the Owner of the household-kingdom at His return. First, He is preparing a banquet for us (Cf. Revelation 19:6-10). And then these astounding words: “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them” (12:37). I can’t wait!

So, I am making changes to better manage and enjoy the life He has given me. Accumulation, chaos, sloth, and busy-ness are out. More dedicated time for Christ and my important, God-given world are definitely in.

The service will be superb. Don’t you wonder what the menu will be for our heavenly banquet?

The Rhea Herald-News, June 28, 2017

 

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A Too Small Thing

A Too Small Thing

He has brought you near him. Numbers 16:10

We can be so like the people of God in the book of Numbers. Do you remember how God provided manna from heaven for food, a cloud to lead them by day, and a pillar of fire by night? With all these miracles and the recent miraculous exodus from Egypt we’d expect the campfire chatter to be excited praise. Nah, they grumbled.

1 Corinthians 10 reminds us God was not pleased with them. His patience ran out and He killed thousands of them in the wilderness. Why? He called their behavior idolatry. Ouch.

Not surprisingly, thankfulness pops up at many and odd times in Scripture as the cure for grumbling, a centerpiece in our worship, a primary component in relationships, and the protective, ordinary way to live in light of God’s many gifts and works.

A helpful question in Numbers 16:9-11 startled me recently: “Is it too small a thing?” Listen in:

And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now…is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service…to minister…that he has brought you near him…?

Though given an extraordinary purpose in tabernacle ministry Korah balked at the call of God. He desired more—to be a priest, and not be a helper in the daily activity of the tabernacle. It was too small a thing. The Message paraphrase called their life in the “inner circle.” Just think, we long to be “in the know”—in the inner circle—and, if not careful, shun the call of God already before us. As God’s child, aren’t we already in His inner circle wherever He has us?

Thinking again about 1 Corinthians 10 and idolatry, could the thing we want but don’t have be a new idol to us?

The implications of Numbers 16 touch many areas of our life. Have we made the ordinary provisions, gifts, and calling of God right now “too small a thing”? Where is the line between “God-given, inspirational dissatisfaction” and untimely, self-driven pursuits for more—a better position, bigger and better things, etc.? Where do idolatry and ungratefulness end and contentment begin?

I am most struck by the purpose of God in His provision and the circumstances surrounding His direct involvement in our life: to bring Korah–us–near to God. Oh, the joy of Father and Son who long for us.

One of my dearest Sisters-in-Christ is going through a time of blessing and challenge. She has a tremendous heart for ministry and was a director of women’s ministries at her church for years. In a conversation last weekend we talked about the end of ministries we both have loved. In an amazing God moment, we both realized and said together: “Now, all we have is Jesus.”

He is enough.

The Rhea Herald-News, June 21, 2017

 



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