Monday, August 15, 2016

Luke 19:20-27

Luke 19:20-27
“And another one came, saying, ‘Behold, your mina, which I have preserved in a small cloth.  For I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man: taking up what you did not put down and reaping what you did not sow.’  He said to him, ‘I will judge you out of your own words, evil slave.  You had known that I am a harsh man, raising up what I did not set down and reaping that which I did not sow?  Why then did you not give my money to the bank, so after coming back I would act upon it with interest?’  And he said to the ones who stood near him, ‘Take the mina from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’  And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’  And I say to you that it will be given to all the ones who have.  And even from the one who does not have, that which he does have will be taken away.  Nevertheless, for my enemies, bring here those who did not desire me to be king over them and slaughter them before me.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Another slave comes forward and returns what was offered.  On the surface, this seems like a reasonable thought.  The slave was afraid of failure, so he simply preserved what had been given to him in order to return it.  In fact, the slave clearly recognizes the value of the gift because he places it in a cloth to keep it safe!  Before we say anything else about this slave, we need to stop and take a moment to make sure we see that the slave recognizes the gift and does all that he can to keep it safe.

Have you ever been afraid of failure?  Have you ever been more concerned about not losing something than you were concerned about enjoying it in your life?  What kinds of things evoke these feelings within you?

Second Thought:

Unfortunately, while you may have read my first thought and thought I was trying to find a reason to praise the slave, the reality is that I am not after this end.  The fact that the slave recognizes the value of the gift is more to his detriment than to his benefit.  The slave knew the value of the gift.  At the very least, he could have deposited the gift with banks and gained a guaranteed investment.  But the man doesn’t even take the sure bet.  While he certainly values the gift, he is a lazy slave who doesn’t do anything with it – not even the sure thing!  The message is clear.  It is not enough to know the value of the gifts that God has given to us.  It is not enough to respect their value.  God expects us to do something with those gifts – even if it is the sure thing.  God expects us to do something to advance His kingdom, even if it is something simple or basic.  Examples of simple and basic things are reading His Word daily to bring grown within ourselves or simply attending church on Sunday to bring out growth within ourselves.  Even if we are afraid to try and advance the kingdom outside of ourselves, we can do the simple things to bring about a return of His investment within us!  How shameful it is to God to look at Him, acknowledge the value of the things that He gives to us, and to then return them directly to Him without even having grown ourselves!

What do you do with the gifts that God has given to you?  In what ways can you use your gifts in order to bring about the sure growth within yourself, even if you don’t succeed in influencing the people around you?

Third Thought:

In the end, what had originally been given to the third slave is given to the slave with the most.  Do you notice the surprise of the people around the slaves?  They argue that the one slave already has more, why should he get even more?  The truth is that God’s economy is not about flat equality.  Yes, God is about justice and righteousness.  The right thing is always done with God.  But God is not about treating everyone equally.  All people have the right to be treated to a basic equal level, but God has a right to love those who demonstrate closeness to Him more!  Think about this in the message of God’s Word.  Did God love Cain and Abel both?  Sure, but He loved Abel’s gift more.  Did God love all twelve sons of Jacob?  Sure, but He loved Joseph more.  Did God love all the kings of Israel?  Sure, But God loved David more.  Did Jesus love all of those who followed Him?  Sure, but He was especially close to Peter, James, and John.  In God’s economy, there is a basic level of equality and love that all people find in Him.  But even more will be given to those who are even more closer to Him.

Do you find this aspect of God’s economy disturbing or understandable?  Does it seem fair to you?  Why do human beings – especially those in the Western World – often chafe against this aspect of God’s economy?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 19:28-32
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