What are you doing with your talents?

Matthew 25:14-30 contains the Parable of the Talents. A talent was a measure of currency in weight, worth about 6 years of wages. In this parable, a man going on a long journey leaves his servants in charge of different amounts of money (large sums – 5 talents for one, 2 for another and 1 for the last – but even 1 talent was a substantial amount).  The first two servants each took the amounts entrusted to them and worked to grow that sum. When the master returns much later, each of those servants is able to give over to his master not only the original amount left in their care, but also the same amount over again in growth from their diligent stewardship. Their loyalty and hard work is rewarded with a response of  “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

The third servant, who received the least amount, had taken his sum and buried it. While he was able to return the entire amount to his master, that was not enough. The master is not happy with this. The response actually seems pretty harsh. You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” 

What does this mean? And how does it apply to us? Verse 15 says that each servant was left with a different amount, “to each according to his ability”. Let’s think of the talents (currency) as a different talent – gifts, abilities, etc. To each one of us, God has given a gift. ALL of us have one. Some of us have more, some of us have less, but we all have been given the ability to use what God has given us for his glory. Each of us according to our abilities.

What are we doing with our talents? Do we hide them away safely, maybe let them peek out a bit on Sundays at church, but never use them to grow God’s kingdom? Do we put our talents to use to love on people, to reflect grace to those in need, and to show generosity of spirit?

Reflect today on how many “talents” have been left in your care. What are you doing with them? Are you investing them to grow God’s kingdom or hiding them away?

Lord, thank you for your daily blessings and mercies. Thank you for the promise of your return. Help me to take the abilities you’ve given to me and not only to recognize what they are, but to actively pursue using them to show your love to those around me. 

The Big-ness of God

Image result for watch for god

Today’s Reading: Psalm 90, Luke 19:5-23, Mark 13:35-37

Good Morning it’s another Monday and I’m so blessed to be back with you! Mr. McG has been covering for me due to some travel and I’m so grateful! As your Monday hostess, I have the honor of introducing a new series we’re beginning on the character of God. As a newer Christian, I think this concept can be one of the most complex aspects of a living faith. As we mature in our faith we begin to deepen our interaction with God just as we do with our parents. Today we have three separate readings that highlight the big-ness of God. After studying each of them, I’d like to just focus on them separately today in our study together and allow you to draw some connections as you consider the character of God in your own faith journey.

Psalm 90

A prayer of Moses, this Psalm speaks of the sovereignty of God over creation, life and death. When I first became I Christian I really struggled to understand the meaning of the word sovereignty. The dictionary defines sovereignty as: supreme power and freedom from external control. Moses reminds us that a thousand years are like a day to God. He is not limited by time. It’s easy to get so very discouraged when situations don’t seem to change when days, weeks, months or even years go by. Sometimes we wonder if God can see into the future. But what we learn from Psalm 90 is that God is completely unrestricted from time. Because of his sovereignty, God knows all of our sins.

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence” Psalm 90:8

This should encourage us to come to him rather than trying to cover our sins from him. The end of the psalm reminds us that our time here on earth is so very finite. By loving and serving God we can weather the difficult times knowing our desires can only be satisfied by Him! If you’re going through a hard time that seems endless right now, this Psalm is for you. Take time to read it again, He’ll be with you when you do.

Luke 19:5-23

I love this story about Zacchaeus the crooked tax collector and his change for Jesus. It shows us that each of us have the capacity for change and the call to believe the best in others. Jesus goes on to tell the parable of the ten servants. If you are a part of the Eastview Christian Church congregation, you may have experienced this parable first hand with our Serve Project. Jesus followers are commanded to use the resources we are given to build and expand God’s kingdom. Understanding that there is no wealth that is truly ours is the key to a life in discipleship with Him. While we await the coming of Jesus again we must do Christ’s work.

 Mark 13:35-37

Finally, we arrive at Mark 13, the cornerstone of our readings for today. The message is simple; watch for God. I was reminded of a little yellow bracelet my children wear from VBS when I read this passage. The bracelet literally says, “Watch for God” The intent was to give the kids a tangible reminder that God is always with you and that one day Jesus will come again. At the end of each day of VBS, the children were encouraged to share a moment in which they saw signs of God in their lives. They wrote them down on little post it notes and covered a wall with them by the end of the week. Mark is essentially giving us a bracelet that says, “Watch!” Sometimes I think it may be helpful to us as adults to write down our God sightings and post them on our wall. I know that I can get caught up in the day to day and miss the opportunity to see Him. Jesus tells us through this parable that we must stand firm by faith and not be surprised by persecutions. We must stay alert and be guided by our moral compass until he comes again.

 

Have a great week!

The Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:1-13 and Psalm 135

Clearly Jesus wants to press upon us to BE READY – He gave us so many great teachings on this topic. In a world that is more than ever prepped, organized, and connected…we really seem to have our stuff together on the outside. And social media is such a great place for our highlight reel of all things filtered and cropped perfectly.

Like these ten virgins, we are all prepped, ready and waiting for the party. But when news comes that the party is FINALLY about to start, panic mode sets in. While we have the right dress, the lamp even… half of us do not have the oil to make the lamp burn.   Job Number One: BURN ALL THE LAMPS! It’s more than just showing up appearing put together – you have to show up with the oil!

I have heard different analogies for what the oil represents for Christ Followers. Faith. The Holy Spirit. Obedience. I can’t help but think of the lukewarm that John talks about in Revelation.

We aren’t told why these virgins (think bridesmaids) showed up without the oil. Maybe they were so consumed with doing their hair that they ran out of time. Maybe they were going around worrying about how everyone else’s dress looked that they lost sight of Job Number One. Whatever their reason for not having the oil – the bottom line is, without it, they could not enter the party.

I’ve been in a season of box checking and having so many holy “habits” that I found myself losing sight of holy union.  Sure I had the right dress on, my hair was in place, and I even had my lamp. But when it was time to actually do Job Number One, I had no oil.

In motherhood this looks a lot like stretching ourselves so thin with lots of “good” things (teach Sunday school, weekly BSF, Bible Journal, etc)….but then losing our minds on our kids when they clog the sink with silly putty. Or missing out on quiet moments with them because we have run ourselves so ragged that we collapse in an instant.

What’s keeping you from Job Number One today in your walk with the Lord? Are you walking around appearing to be ready – you’ve got the dress, hair, and your lamp is GORGEOUS… but in secret you’re out of oil? Don’t wait for THE BEST PARTY EVER to start before you announce you’re out of oil.  Get your oil NOW and BE READY!

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

 

Never Alone

This week I traveled alone across the ocean and back.

I stayed in a hotel alone, met with Italian officials at the Chicago Consulate alone, walked the streets of Chicago alone, went to a baseball game alone, and went for a bike ride along the beautiful Chicago lakeshore alone.

Except because of my faith, I wasn’t really alone. We’re never really alone, especially when we invite God’s Holy Spirit into our lives. I faced major travel hardships, loneliness, along with worry and doubt over the appointments with the officials. Through this, I found so much peace with the sense of God’s presence and him calling me to lean on him and trust him. He carried me and continued to prove his faithfulness, and I’m so grateful.

I shared this story because it ties to today’s verses as a reminder that our omnipotent God sees all and knows all, Jesus is coming soon, and we will all be judged. We can run from him, but we cannot hide.

Today once again, we have the story of the wise and foolish servants:

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:45-51)

My takeaway (apart from the metaphor that this is about the return of Jesus) is the contrast, and it all comes down to a matter of the heart. Is my heart focused on putting me first or others and God’s will?

From this passage, I see these contrasts-

The faithful & wise:

  • Serve others
  • Treat others with respect
  • Exhibit honorable behavior even when no one is looking
  • Recognize their position was given to them
  • Stay focused on their mission
  • Remain diligent and sober
  • Anticipate the return of their leader
  • Will be granted more responsibility and an honorable reward

The foolish & wicked:

  • Focus on self
  • Become deceived and disregard the consequences of their actions
  • Are two faced, behaving differently when they think no one will notice
  • Abuse others
  • Seek the pleasures of this world
  • Will be punished severely

At the end of this passage we find death and separation, the punishment for our sin. Any one of us can admit to being guilty of being put in some sort of leadership position but yet falling victim to sin; being of the world instead of having our hearts focused fully on the Kingdom of Heaven.

The beauty is that faith in Jesus Christ is what can and will redeem us. Until we get to Heaven we will have a sin problem. Meanwhile, we can repent and submit to the one who was and is perfect. The one who knew of our sinful nature and sacrificed his body and blood so that we do not receive the punishment we deserve. Thank you Jesus.

Today’s other reading: Psalm 134

Unity

 

Today’s reading:  Mathew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-29, Luke 21:29-31, Psalm 133

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity (Psalm 133:1).

Did you and your spouse light a unity candle at your wedding? I’m not sure if this is still a wedding tradition or not (it might not have made it past the 1900’s).  Nevertheless, it is still a good illustration – at the beginning of the wedding ceremony, a representative from each family (usually the mothers of the bride and groom) light the two taper candles. Later in the ceremony (usually after the formal vows), the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light the large pillar (unity) candle together.  Lighting the unity candle, and blowing out the separate taper candles, represents two lives being joined together as one.

As I was writing this post, I was thinking about the day B.J. and I got married. I think we lit a unity candle in our wedding, but I honestly can’t remember.  This morning I went downstairs to my storage room to see if I could find a picture.  After nearly breaking my neck trying to navigate the mess that is our storage room, I quickly gave up.  After twenty-four years of marriage B.J. and I are pretty unified whether or not we lit a dumb candle or not.  We both still love Jesus and share a common purpose – to glorify him with our lives.  But you know what?  We still disagree and bicker over a lot of relatively unimportant issues (like a messy rooms).  If not kept in check, our disagreement can take over, and will eventually lead to division.  Even the strongest of relationships are not immune from this risk.

In Psalm 133, as well as many other places throughout the scriptures, the church is called to Unity. It sounds good, but have you ever thought about why it is so important?  As I was reading and preparing for this post, a few key thoughts hit home for me.  These points are relevant to unity in the church as well as unity in our relationships.

Unity is theologically critical

Jesus Christ is the center of our faith. He is the way.  If we are not united on this foundational truth, everything else we stand for becomes meaningless.

Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live (1 Corinthians 8:6).

It is a powerful witness

A church unified around the mission of spreading the gospel is powerful. Satan knows the best way to keep a church from fulfilling its mission is to get people arguing over non-essentials, turning their focus inward, and losing their evangelistic passion.

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20-21).

Unity sounds easy, but is incredibly hard to achieve and maintain. How do we do it?  While easier said than done, a few key suggestions from God’s word:

Keep Jesus Christ at the center

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Be humble, gentle and patient, bear with one another in love

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3).

The Wedding Banquet

Todays reading: Matthew 22:2-14 and Psalm 132

We recently celebrated a wedding in our family. My step daughter Paige married Ross on 6/16/18. It was perfect. Even though it poured down rain 25 minutes before the outdoor ceremony……it was perfect. And at the end of the day they were married!!! We spent many hours preparing for the ceremony and the reception. Then we waited for people to RSVP to the blessed event. As we waited, I was convicted of all the times I was slow to respond or failed to respond all together to various invitations. Why would I be so slow to respond to an invitation to a banquet with free food and drink, entertainment, and celebration with friends and family?

The parable in Matthew 22:2-14 speaks to an invitation and is an illustration of the kingdom of heaven. There was a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. Invitations were sent out but the people were too busy to respond (RSVP). Their minds were on other things. They were busy with work, family, illness, animals. When it came time for the banquet the people that were invited didn’t accept the invitation. They actually got mad and violent towards the servants that were inviting them! So the king, who spent so much time preparing for the event, invited other people off the street to come to the party in place of the ones initially invited. They accepted the invitation and came to the banquet. Once there, the king noticed someone who was not dressed appropriately for the banquet. At that time, when Jewish people  had a wedding banquet they gave the invitation and provided clothing for guests to wear to the event. This particular guest came to the banquet but wasn’t wearing the new clothes given to him. He showed up, but didn’t fully accept the invitation. He was only half present.  The king got rid of him because the guest arrogantly arrived in his own clothes and wasn’t willing to put down his pride and fully commit.

Have you RSVP’d to Jesus invitation?In accepting Jesus invitation have you fully committed by also putting on the new clothing of Christ? God asks us to clothe ourselves in His righteousness, not our own.  It’s part of the celebration of fully accepting the invitation of salvation from Jesus.

Isaiah 61:10 “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.”

The Parable of the Wicked Farmers

Today’s Readings: Matthew 21:33-44, Mark 12:1-11, Luke 20:9-19, and Psalm 131

As we look at the Parable of the Wicked Farmers (Tenants) found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke I’m reminded of the meaningfulness used in all of the parables by Jesus.  These parables were used to tell a story to the listeners that would connect to their hearts and souls. This parable as well as the story of the two sons from yesterday connect when Jesus is being questioned.  A story that would connect with the crowds current lives as well as our present day.  The difference in this next parable is its direct pointedness to the priests, Pharisees, and religious leaders that had stopped him to question who he was and questioning his authority. This all came after Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy.

In Jesus’s last week of life on earth, Jesus had just entered the temple and had turned things upside-down. (literally)  He was upset and saddened by what they were doing. The high priests and religious leaders had just asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?” After sharing one parable about the Two Sons, Jesus shares His second of three parables in this questioning of His authority.  Jesus paints a picture to those that have gathered to hear him preach.  One that they would all relate to at that time.  Verse 33 a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug the winepress, and built a watchtower.  This illustration in 33 shows the landowner taking care of self and others by building the vineyard, he protected the vineyard by hedging around it, then added a winepress that would turn their grapes into grape juice, then finally a tower which would have multiple purposes.  It would provide security, shelter, and a place for storage.    The stage is set for Jesus to tell about three servants sent by the landowner to receive his portions from the land given to the farmers. What happens to the three servants sent?…beaten, killed, and stoned. All dead. After each death the landowner showed grace that in sending his next servant the belief was they would repent and give back the fruits provided for them.  Lastly, the farmer sends his own son.  Sound familiar… His own son to collect the fruit.  What do they farmers do? They plot and murder him in hopes they would then be given the inheritance.  In verse 40 Jesus then asks those questioning his authority, “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?” 

Their response and Jesus’s response varies.  The high priests respond with judgement and replacement, where Jesus asks first if they have ever read the scriptures. (ouch)

‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
    and it is wonderful to see.’43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.

The priests knew they were just called out and were upset.  In reality they would have been better to repent.  Their eyes and ears were not open to this parable.  The Psalm surely song a couple days earlier as Jesus entered the town. Psalm 118:22-23 says The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.

What does the parable mean for us?  I think of the vineyard is where we are at now.  If you have a chance read the connection to Isaiah 5 God’s people are His Vineyard. We are in a place where we hear Him, produce fruit for Him, and respond to Him when he calls on us.  How are we responding? How are we doing with the vineyard he has put us in to produce fruit? It’s amazing to think that one day God will be sending His son once again to see how we have done? Will we be ready to hand everything over or standing with those who have rejected Him? My prayer is for us all to be praising Him together standing with handfuls of fruit, giving Him everything we have.  That as we stand in our vineyard our and build cornerstone of the tower we call home is the foundation of Christ.

God has chosen us to be the living cornerstone’s for Christ, what an amazing blessing.

1 Peter 2:4 says 4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

Resources

Tysdale Life Application Bible

Grace To You –

 

 

 

Two Sons

 

Today’s Reading : Matthew 21:28-32; John :19-20Psalms 130

Matthew 21:28-32

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

 

 

Parables are great teachers of hidden truths and realities.  The message of the “Two Sons” is a direct answer to the direct affront that Jesus was being subjected to by the Chief priest and the elders of the temple. This was a manner in which Christ was redirecting and questioning the true intentions of his accusers.  In the passage before this parable, Christ is questioned on the authority that he teaches in temple and he redirects the elders with the question of John the Baptist’s Baptism.

 

In this parable, Christ is using a similar style where he uses their own beliefs to hone in to the critical point of the essence of the elders.  In Jewish tradition similar to our tradition of respect and obligation, when a person gives their word or promise, that is the correct manner of respect. But the true essence of respect is not only to commit with words, but also to complete the action.  By completing the action, you have completed your duty to the requestor.  In the parable the chief priest and the elders are the proverbial “second son”. They commit by words, but their actions are not aligned with the request of the father. The tax collectors are the “first son” where they have heard the request of the father and deny at first, but submit to the will of the father later.

 

Being a father and a son, I can see both aspects of this parable in my life.  There were many times as a child and young adult where I submitted to the request of my parents, but there are also times where I didn’t submit to the request.  As my wife and I raise our three children, there are times that the children comply with our request and at times they submit to their own devices.  But as reading this passage, I have the realization that these two sons’ roles are present in each of us on a daily basis. It is dynamic in nature as well. If we are in Christ, we are ever searching to be aligned with God, but sometimes we may do something that is not aligned with His will. Sometimes we may say, “ God direct my path” and decided to keep our own Mapquest at hand.   Other times we may feel the need to serve and will start wherever we are. These two scenarios are ways that we can see God working in us.  We are imperfect beings with access to a perfect being.  We will not always do the correct choice, but by grace we will have the chance to grow in Him.   Be Blessed.

;  Psalms 130

 

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

Parables are great teachers of hidden truths and realities.  The message of the “Two Sons” is a direct answer to the direct affront that Jesus was being subjected to by the Chief priest and the elders of the temple. This was a manner in which Christ was redirecting and questioning the true intentions of his accusers.  In the passage before this parable, Christ is questioned on the authority that he teaches in temple and he redirects the elders with the question of John the Baptist’s Baptism.

In this parable, Christ is using a similar style where he uses their own beliefs to hone in to the critical point of the essence of the elders.  In Jewish tradition similar to our tradition of respect and obligation, when a person gives their word or promise, that is the correct manner of respect. But the true essence of respect is not only to commit with words, but also to complete the action.  By completing the action, you have completed your duty to the requestor.  In the parable the chief priest and the elders are the proverbial “second son”. They commit by words, but their actions are not aligned with the request of the father. The tax collectors are the “first son” where they have heard the request of the father and deny at first, but submit to the will of the father later.

Being a father and a son, I can see both aspects of this parable in my life.  There were many times as a child and young adult where I submitted to the request of my parents, but there are also times where I didn’t submit to the request.  As my wife and I raise our three children, there are times that the children comply with our request and at times they submit to their own devices.  But as reading this passage, I have the realization that these two sons’ roles are present in each of us on a daily basis. It is dynamic in nature as well. If we are in Christ, we are ever searching to be aligned with God, but sometimes we may do something that is not aligned with His will. Sometimes we may say, “ God direct my path” and decided to keep our own Mapquest at hand.   Other times we may feel the need to serve and will start wherever we are. These two scenarios are ways that we can see God working in us.  We are imperfect beings with access to a perfect being.  We will not always do the correct choice, but by grace we will have the chance to grow in Him.   Be Blessed.

What has God invested in YOU??

The Parable of the ten minas.   Luke 19:11-27

In the parable of the ten minas in the gospel of Luke, we read about a man of noble birth who goes to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.  Since he will be gone, he calls ten of his servants and gives them each one mina (about 3 months wages) and tells them to put this money to work until he comes back.  When the king returns home, he sends for his servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find what they have gained with it.  

The first servant showed that his mina had earned ten more.  The king was pleased, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!…Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities” (verse 17).  

The next servant’s investment had yielded five additional minas, and the servant was rewarded with charge of five cities (verses 18-19).  

Then came a servant who reported that he had done nothing with his mina except hide it in a cloth (Luke 19:20).  The king commanded that his mina be given to the one who had earned ten.  People in the crowd did not think this was fair.  The king responded, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away” (verses 25-26). 

The nobleman in this parable is Jesus, who left this world but who will return as King some day.  The servants who are given the mina represent you and me, as followers of Jesus.  The Lord has given us a valuable commission, and we must be faithful to serve Him until He returns.  Upon His return, Jesus will determine the faithfulness of His own People.  

We all have the same job – to live for Christ.  I assume you are reading this Bible Journal daily because you have an interest in living for Christ.  This passage today tells us that we must invest the investment that Jesus made in us.  God has invested many things in each one of us.  Our possessions, our time, our lives, and even the Gospel message has been placed in our care.  God has given us these things and said, “Put ___________ to work, until I come back”. So, we have to ask ourself, “how am I using the things God has given me?  How am I spending my money, my time, and my life?  How am I using the Gospel message?”  And…”What kind of return is God getting on His investment in me?  I hope and long for the day when I hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant”!  

Also read Psalm 129

Childlike

Luke 18:15-17 (ESV) Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

I love that Jesus welcomed the presence of children.  They were not a bother, an irritation or a distraction.  In fact, He paints a picture of children that is wildly different.  It is they, he says, that they embody the kingdom of God.  How can that be?  They don’t even know God.  In fact, if I told them about God, and explained who He is, they wouldn’t even understand. So, how is it that the Kingdom is theirs?  There is one more question that is more important than all of these.  According to verse 17, our only hope for inheriting the kingdom of God is to do so, like a child.  How does that work?

Let’s be clear.  This parable is not about being childish, nor does it have anything to do with maturity.  God’s word clearly expresses our need to become mature believers in him.  1 Corinthians 14:20, for example, exhorts us to not be childish in our understanding.  We are to grow, being weaned off of milk and onto solid food (1 Cor 3:2).  So, how do we become mature and childlike at the same time?  Jesus wants us to embrace the attitudes of a child.  As I think about it, there are several things that a child has, naturally.  All of these, by the way, show up in spite of their environment.

  • Childlike is to let go of asserting their power or seeking honor.
  • Childlike is to be generous rather than jealous, or envious
  • Childlike is to not care about money. They don’t even have a concept of it
  • Childlike is to be content. This is why the box is more fun than the present.
  • Childlike is to be eager – keen or ardent in desire or feeling; impatiently longing:
  • Childlike is to be
  • Childlike is to be playful
  • Childlike is to be vulnerable
  • Childlike is to be inquisitive
  • Childlike is to be moldable and shapeable
  • Childlike is to be filled with wonder

As I read through this list, it is clear to me why Jesus loves children.  It is also a fantastic picture of the kingdom of God.  The best part is that it can be ours right now, today.  All you have to do is be those things.  Sounds impossible, right?  This is where the good news comes in.  Jesus, came to fill that gap for us.  The life that we cannot have on our own, he freely gives.  After all, “the son of man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMiSXoP8eCg