Tuesday, November 20, 2012



OK, now you know not to worry about things that don't matter, you know that God is capable of providing for your needs, you know that you are most valuable to God, you know that the only way to satisfy your heart is to seek His Kingdom and become a channel for God's blessings to flow to the poor. But knowing it isn't doing it. Now, Jesus is saying that what is most necessary is to BE READY.  
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

Jesus concludes with a call to focus on what is really important. It is so very important that you be vigilant with respect to your relationship with your Master, Jesus, the King. If indeed this is a love relationship, then it's vital to act like it by being ready for Jesus to show up, even unexpectedly.

When the master arrives, the servants are to be ready. His coming or showing up is their most important priority. You are to be looking forward with great anticipation for Jesus and to stay awake or be watchful. You may be servants, but when the Master shows up He will serve you. This is how Jesus turns the world upside down. He upends the world system by making the poor rich and the rich poor.
Peter asked, "Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?" The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers."
"The servant who knows the master's will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

So the conclusion is be dressed and ready for service. Keep your lamps burning. Be watching for him. Even if he is delayed, don't fall asleep. Be a faithful and wise manager. Feed the servants under your care. God has given you much. Be worthy of that sacred trust He has in you. Two words: BE READY.



If you're going to be "rich toward God", then you must learn to trust God for your material needs: Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."
Don't worry about your life, because there is more to life than food and clothes. First, Jesus says, "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"

Then Jesus moves from birds to flowers:"Consider how the wild flowers grow.They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you-you of little faith!"

Don't you see, it's so empty and foolish to be concerned or worried about these things, because you are so much more valuable than birds and wild flowers.
"And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it." Jesus here gives us an insight as to how worrying is set in motion. It is when you set your heart on something that you want or think you need.

There are two reasons Jesus gives for such worry. First-"For the pagan world runs after all such things." Worry and seeking stuff is what the pagans do. Why? Because they are not walking under the King and His kingdom.

Second-"and your Father knows that you need them." God already is aware of what you need. He is the most faithful one you can count on in your relationship. He knows what you need and is not shocked with the situation you find yourself in, so trust Him with it.

Probably one of the most common hazards you and I face is greed. The only way to escape the peril of greed is to pursue God's Kingdom. NOTE how Jesus puts it: "But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." All of the "stuff" we need will be taken care of, if we seek His kingdom and learn to trust Him with every part of our existence.

Jesus gives another insight into eliminating your worry and seeking His kingdom. He says, "Sell your possessions and give to the poor." Jesus is saying the same thing He mentioned in the previous paragraph. He wants us to serve as channels of blessings for others. And as long as we operate in His kingdom, He will bless us as the channels of His blessings.
Then Jesus says something that is curious: "Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys."
If you're neglecting to give to the poor and needy, then you will have an earthly purse that will wear out. However if you are a giver, you will have a heavenly purse that will never wear out.
So, if you worry about things that you cannot control and don't practice trusting God, then you will not be rich toward God and you will not be thriving-only surviving at best. Jesus gives the formula for practicing being rich toward God. 1. Don't worry about things that don't matter. 2. God is more than capable of providing for your needs and continually demonstrates it through how He feeds the birds and clothes the wild flowers. 3. You are the most valuable of God's creation. 4. Seek after His Kingdom. 5. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. 

Then Jesus ends this section with the following: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If your focus is on the kingdom, your heart will be the heart of God and you will know the fullness of a satisfied heart. If your focus is smothered with worries about how you're going to eat and clothe yourself, your heart will be worn out by struggling to hang on to a lesser treasure. You choose. Keep on seeking His Kingdom or drown yourself in your worries. It is ultimately your choice.



In Luke 12:13-21 we come to the story of the rich fool. Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?"  
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;" NOW THAT'S RELEVANT FOR TODAY.

JESUS GOES ON TO SAY: "life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." The word for "life" Jesus uses is the word that speaks of quality of life. So, He is saying that your quality of life doesn't consist in all of your stuff.

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'"

NOTE in those days everyone was in relationship to one another-family lived together and villages worked together in times of abundance and in times of loss. Yet this man "thinks to himself". You see, he consulted no one on his decision-no one, not even God.
"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.

Instead of sharing it with those in his family and village who are in need, he makes the decision to "store" his surplus in bigger barns.
And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." The purpose for his decision is so that he can take life easy, eat, drink and be merry. This is called retirement in most cases. However, Jesus has us all on a mission. It's our real purpose for being here. We are only satisfied if we fulfill our God-given purpose and that purpose is not hoarding stuff for ourselves, but to be self-giving. This has nothing to do with making money and increasing your possessions. There is nothing wrong with that. It has everything to do with how you use what you have. Since all you have belongs to God Who enabled and empowered you to gather it, He wants you to use it compassionately.

NOTE what happens to this man: "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

That very night of his boasting and his self-centered decision God "demanded" not only his stuff, but his life! The word used here means to "take it back" or "repossess" all you have and all that you are-your very life.

Jesus ends His story with a strong summary application: "This is how it will be with those who store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God."

RICH TOWARD GOD. It seems by Jesus' words that a person who is rich toward God does not live for himself-gathering and holding on to more and more stuff for himself. Rather one who is rich toward God takes thought of how to share his stuff and use it for the kingdom. Well, where are you in this story?

Think it over.