Monday, November 12, 2018

November 13, 2018

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey."  Matthew 25:14-15

Let's review this part of the story:

The master, before he left on a long trip called his servants to leave them in charge of his fortune. He divided it up in an uneven way giving one servant five bags, another servant two bags and a third servant one.

Frankly, that sounds sort of unfair. Now, granted when you have eight bags and three servants the math gets a little tricky. But fairness would dictate that he divide them three, three and two.

But he didn't. In this parable the master represents God, so does this mean God is unfair?

Fairness has become an important value in our culture. It was a big issue in the recent Presidential campaigns. The Democrats promise to make outcomes more fair while the Republicans promised to make opportunities more fair.

Think of how much money and man hours and energy and legislation is invested in the attempts to make our society a fairer place.

There are a number of great truths in this well-known parable and among them is that God isn't nearly as concerned about fairness as we are.

Brad, are you saying God is unfair? No, I am not. I am saying to God fairness isn't as important as it is to us. God is beyond fairness - He is just and He is righteous which means that when all is said and done He will make everything perfectly fair.

Lest you unfairly accuse God of being unfair, consider several facts in this story:

1) The master owned all the gold so it his right to do whatever he wants with it. It would be unfair of you to tell him what to do with his gold!

2) He owned the servants, too! It was their duty to serve him by doing what he told them to do. A master had all the rights and his servants had all the responsibility.

3) The master wanted to increase his wealth not just preserve it. Who doesn't want to increase his wealth? You do! I do!

Considering that and factoring how the story ended, this master could have had a greater increase had he given all the gold to the five-talent servant. Think about it. The one with five got five more and the one with two got two more and plus the one equalled 14 bags of gold. But if he had given all eight to the one servant and he doubled it that would have added up to 16!

So, in fact, his attempt to be fair with his servants may have cost him some profit.

Like the master in the parable God is not unfair but He is more concerned with fruitfulness than He is with fairness. You should be too!

I think it is fair to say that we would all be better off if we worried more about fruitfulness and less about fairness. Thus saith the parable!

November 12, 2018

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy,your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that 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, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ or the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:19-34

Someone has written this perspective on the wealth/materialism/freedom issues
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won't survive the week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.

If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, especially in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer God's healing touch.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.

You are so blessed in ways you may never even know.
I think this is the point Jesus was making about your attitude toward money and materialism. Begin from the position of thankfulness and recognition of God, the Source of your blessings. Unless you are grateful to your  Father for what you have you will not be satisfied with what else you get.