"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."
In this parable Jesus is trying to teach us something that will change our behavior. I'm sure YOU like to receive behavior modifications! But remember, we serve a God of grace. God doesn't exist to punish us. He loves us and, in turn, desires our love. And, the great thing about our God is that there are so many different ways for us to show that love to him!
The passage starts with a rich man asking for an account of what his steward had done. The steward, realizing he was in deep trouble, decided to approach the rich man's debtors and give each of them a discount on what they owed to the rich man. The steward did this so that they would treat him nicely (show hospitality) after he lost his job. Surprisingly, the rich man commended the steward because of his shrewdness. (Being shrewd is not automatically a bad thing – it can show good judgement and being wise.)
Later in the passage Jesus tells the disciples to "use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." In verse 10 Jesus tells them "whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."
So, what does this mean for you and me in the year 2016 and into the future? Since I can't answer for you, I'll share with you what it means to me and maybe you'll find we have something in common.
First, I wonder if God is pleased with me. I've lived my life almost always (notice the word almost) trying to do the right thing in the eyes of God. I didn't want to do wrong and experience God's disappointment in me, or maybe his anger. Now, as I look back, I wonder if I could have been more bold in how I've lived as a Christian. Could I have taken advantage of more opportunities to share my faith or support other Christians in their Kingdom work? Have I taken risks that would please God and show that I believe?
So, for those of you younger than me, I want to encourage you, - don't hesitate and don't make excuses to be uninvolved in God's work. One thing I'm learning is to follow the Spirit's lead even if it is out of character for me. There is never a better reward than that intangible blessing of knowing you did what God wanted you to do. Don't let years and opportunities pass you by!
For those of you who are my age and older – it is never too late! I am always blessed and challenged when I see people older than me using their time and energy for God.
Second, I think this passage calls us to ask, is your heart right with God? I'm serious. In verses 14 and 15 Jesus throws a zinger at the Pharisees – "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your heart." Please understand, I don't know of any "Pharisees" at North Holland, but I wonder what it would be like if all of us had "heart surgery" during the next month. What if we all came out of this spiritual journey with a stronger heart towards serving the community around us and having the same motivation towards making the corner of 120th and New Holland a haven for those who have never experienced God's love! Will you join me?
- Chuck Brower
No one can serve two masters. Who are you serving? Take a moment to check your heart with God. Walk through a typical day in your mind. What do you spend most of your time doing? What does this say about who you serve? Ask God to guide you as you seek to serve Him more faithfully.
God of grace, you have called us to serve you over all other things. Please make me aware of the things I serve more than you - power, social status, money. Give me grace and strength to put aside those idols and serve you alone. Amen.
In your journal or a blank sheet of paper, draw or write your thoughts.