Bad Investments

Luke 21

When I read Luke 21, I get a little scared.  It starts with the destruction of the Temple.  Jesus is telling us that God’s very house will be destroyed.  When it does, we will be tempted to follow others that are not God.   We could easily be led astray.   There will also be wars, natural disasters and persecution.  Jesus makes it personal.  He tells us that we, as believers, will be beaten and tried with some being put to death.  This action is not caused by strangers or even the government. It is our own parents, brothers, relatives and friends.   Entire cities will be destroyed and overtaken.

The events found in this chapter are truly horrifying, with one exception.  Did you notice the first paragraph about the widow?  How did it land here?   It is out-of-place, isn’t it?  I thought so, until I got a closer look.  Read it again and note that the widow kept nothing back for herself.  She gave everything she had, because that is not where she found value.  Consider it this way.  She invested everything she had.  Why?  Was she foolish?  No.  She gave everything because she did not hold value in herself, her own comfort, or her own well-being.  Instead, she invested everything she had for the Kingdom.  She only though of others’ comfort and well-being.  She invested it so that God’s kingdom could be full.

It is worth considering our investments vs the widows.  I realize now that my fear when reading chapter 21 is a result of the investments I am making.  You see, if I am investing in my business or my possessions or even my family, Jesus is quick to show me that my investment will not pay off.  This is what gives me anxiety.  Thankfully, I have an opportunity to make it right.  Today, I choose to invest in God’s kingdom.  I can do it with my pennies and dollars as well as my talents and abilities. Will you?

Maybe You’re the One

 

Good morning and happy Monday.  As we head into Easter week I hope your heart is opening to miracle of the Risen Christ! Today, I’d like to introduce my friend Amy Perschall.  Amy and I sing together on Eastview’s vocal team. A few weeks ago, I learned that her devotion to Christ and skill in sharing His word goes far beyond the music. After hearing her present a morning devotional for a group of musicians, I knew I had to share her gift here! Amy holds a B.S. in Music from ISU, a Master of Divinity, a Masters in Christian Counseling and is working on her Doctor of Ministry. She has experience as a Pastor, Chaplain, Christian Counselor and Youth Pastor.  She has worked in churches, hospitals, prisons and led missions in the name of Jesus. As she completes her doctoral work, Amy is praying for a new opportunity to share her ministry. She is in the process of ordination and I know the next chapter for her will bless so many. I’m excited to share her with our Bible Journal readers!

Today’s Reading: Acts 6

Have you ever seen a need in the church and wondered why someone wasn’t addressing it?  Maybe there are rowdy kids running around between church services and you think, “someone should give them something to do.”  Or maybe there is a concern in the community with homelessness and you wonder, “why doesn’t a church step up and attend to the needs of this population?”  Or maybe you read an article about a school whose students’ grades are failing and you question, “why doesn’t a group step up and help with tutoring or after-school programs?”

A similar questioning arose amongst the Hellenists (or Grecian Jews) and the Hebrews (or Hebraic Jews) in Acts 6.  The Hellenists were a community of believers from places other than Israel and most likely spoke Greek as their primary language.  Their social and religious practices would probably have differed from the Hebrews as well.  And when bringing two different cultures together, there will always be challenges to overcome.

The dispute between the Hellenists and the Hebrews was over the treatment of their widows.  In the Ancient Near East, widows were often unable to provide for themselves and their care was left to the community.  Israelite farmers were to leave grain unharvested so widows, orphans, and foreigners could glean the leftovers and eat (Deut. 24:17-22).  Also, the tithes given to the priests were to provide for the widows, orphans, aliens and priests every third year (Deut. 26:12-13).  So, when the Hellenists complained because, “their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution” (Acts 6:1b), it was a big deal!

Now, I imagine when the Hellenists lodged their complaint to the Twelve (think Twelve Disciples of Jesus), they were expecting one of the leadership to do something.  However, the Twelve had a different plan.  They needed to continue in the call on their lives to preach the Gospel and spread the word of God.  So, just as any good leader does, they delegated.  In developing a team of seven who are “of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3b), the Twelve involve more people in ministry and leadership.  Instead of trying to do everything themselves, the Twelve encourage those who had identified the problem to step up and serve within their giftedness and they were ready to serve!  I’m sure there were growing pains as these new leaders learned how to lead, but in spreading out the work, more people were served in the end.

So, as you notice needs within the church and your community, instead of wondering why someone else doesn’t step up, maybe God is trying to get your attention!  Maybe you are exactly the person God has in mind to spearhead a new ministry.  Are you ready to serve?