Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Luke 16:10-13

Luke 16:10-13
“The one faithful in the least thing is also faithful in the greatest thing.  The one unrighteous in the least thing is also unrighteous in the greatest thing.  Therefore, if you should not become faithful in the unrighteous treasure of this world, who will believe the truth from you?  And if you do not become faithful with another person’s thing, who will give you your own thing?  No servant is powerful enough to serve two lords.  For either he will hate the one and love the other or he will hold fast to the one and he will despise the other.  You are not powerful enough to serve both God and the treasure of this world.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Jesus begins with a classic, well-known quote.  If we are faithful in the small things, we’ll get the big things right, too.  But if we don’t get the small things, then the big things will evade us.  I get this all the time when assigning homework to students.  In math, students who are able to do the homework, show all of their work, take very few mental shortcuts, and check their answers with the back of the book to make sure that they are correct – these students are the ones who typically don’t struggle getting an A on the chapter test.  The more trouble a student has putting in the time to do it right – or even do it at all – the more likely the student is to struggle with even passing the test much less getting an A on it!  I know that this is true in sports as well.  If you do the drills well, then in the actual game time the activity will be much more fluid and productive.  But if you don’t do the drill well, you won’t have refined the motion so that when the pressure is on it will not come off as productive.  If we want to get the big decisions right in our life, we must pay attention to the small decisions first.

Are you good at getting the details right so that the big stuff can work itself out into the right path?  What makes it easy for you to be able to pay attention to the small details?

Second Thought:

Let’s notice a very easily overlooked change in vocabulary in this opening sentence.  Notice that Jesus changes from “faithful” in the complementary section to “unrighteous” in the uncomplimentary section.  What Jesus is doing is trying to point us to the idea that this is not a goal oriented statement.  When He talks about getting the small and big stuff right, he’s not talking just about the outcomes.  He’s actually talking about our attitude.  Remember that the word “faithful” in the Greek encompasses both the idea of belief and obedience.  Therefore, when Jesus says that we are faithful in the small things, He really means that we are to do more than just get the outcome correct.  We are to adopt an attitude within us that compels and enables us to truly get the outcome right.  The same is true with the negative side.  When Jesus uses the word unrighteous, he’s talking more about the condition of one’s heart than the outcome off the event.  If your heart isn’t into getting the small stuff right, you’ll never get the big stuff right!  So often we make this opening expression from Jesus all about the outcomes.  It is about the outcomes.  But Jesus’ vocabulary reminds us that if we even want to get the outcomes right then we absolutely need to get the motivation in our heart correct as well.

What is the condition of your heart in the small things?  Do you ever do the right thing grudgingly?  How helpful is it to establishing good patterns in life when you are only setting up those patterns grudgingly?  What does this show about the condition of our heart?  What does it say about our heart when we do the right and we have a faithful motivation?

Third Thought:

Jesus comes right out at the end and tells us the cold, hard truth.  We are not powerful enough to serve two masters.  It isn’t in us.  We cannot do two things both to our best ability.  At some point, we will always have to choose which goal we are pursuing with all of our heart.  That doesn’t mean we can’t – and don’t – try.  In the beginning, we can try it and feel successful.  But as life gets more complicated and we become more skilled and the treasure we seek becomes more deep we always have to make a choice which goal is the one that we are pursuing with our whole heart.  We have to prioritize.  Jesus is telling us this up front so that we realize that it is important to make a conscious choice to put God first in our life, ahead of the mundane treasure of this world.

Where is your life is God clearly your top priority?  Do you ever have situations that challenge that decision to put God first?  What are the things that are most likely to tempt you away from putting God first?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 16:14-18
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