Friday, November 14, 2014
Deall shrewdly, Jesus says. Be like the dishonest manager, Jesus says. Make friends by dishonest wealth, he instructs us. Shrewdness, dishonestly, ill-gotten gains. These are the tools Jesus is instructting me to use this morning. I know this passage, I know the difficulties it raises. I know how to nimbly tumble through its' array of obstacles, with all the Greek, contextual and theology skills which have been given to me. But today I am trying to look at it as if I juast read it for the first time. Jesus says that we are to be shrewd, like the dishonest manager, that I am to make friends via dishonest wealth. The end game being that we will be welcomed into their houses. So we are to act in such a way that someone will acept take us in, utlimately. When talking about ultimate things, I am thinking that we are working to be accepted, taken in by God. We are to deal shrewdly with God. We are to do whatever it takes to gain God's favor. My Wesleyan roots tell me I do not need to work for God's favor. But this passage seems to tell me that when push comes to shove, when I am out on my ear, I should work to be the kind of person God would accept, God would take in. The manager cuts the bills in half. The manager gives these people what they want for 1\2 price. They get two for the price of one. Christ has paid the price, Christ has done the work, so if we are like the manager we will work to be sure that we give two for the price of one, we give twice as much as what has been paid. This is about giving all of our selves to Christ, to be sure that Jesus is getting a deal, is getting more than what he bargained for. Give back to God more than God could possibly expect. Live shrewdly, give God twice as much as what God paid. Make your life a two for one deal, a 1\2 off special. Live so that the price paid, is a deal. Bring heaven to Earth with who you are. Live above and beyond expectation. Being a dishonest manager means that you give God, the one who will eventually take you in, accept you, will be getting more than God bargained for. Your life can be worth more. Live shrewdly, give God even more than God could possibly want. That means living Heaven here, living abundant love, that mean giving the kind of acceptance, I have recieved, to the world around me.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
I am always captivated by the immage of God as a mother hen. I see a spring time farm yard, with a red hen over seaing a yard full fluffy yellow chicks. They are running around, eating worms, sqeaking and pecking, in the warm sun. Then the morning is disturbed by the sound of a car come in up the drive or the slam of the kitchen door and the rapid pound of a running child's feet at she tear across the farm yard on her way to somewhere. And sudddenly all the chicks run, they don't scatter willy-nilly but they run for the hen, her wings are open wid eand she gathers them in, to protect them from what ever danger there may be, either real or percieved.
This is God, the red Hen, wings wide open calling for us to come, to be gathered in. Sheilded, protected under wing. But Jesus is saddened here, because Jerusalem repeatedly refuses to come gather in. They run the other way, ignore the pleas of the mother hen. Go their own way, come what may, they will handle it on their own. Will I be Jerusalem, going our own way, ignoring the loving arms of our Savior, or I be a chick, looking to Jesus for the guidance and protection he longs to give?
Saturday, November 1, 2014
In the upside down kingdom. The servant who is found good and faithful will find herself being served by the master upon his return. The lowliest one will find that she is being treated as the one with the most honor. That one will be put over all. There is glory and wonder in the idea of the one on the bottom, being on top, those who are pushed to the side and live in the margins will find they now live in the center. Those with the least will be giving the most. Whenn we are lost we will be found. When we have nothing, we have everything. It feels wonderful to be the one who is brought to center stadge from the wings. It is great to go from the back of the line to the front. But there is responsibility to being on top, to leading the line, or being center stadge. We are to be wise in how we use our new found positions, when we are in the center, our job is not to protect our position, but to instead then draw others to the center as well. To be pulling others out from the fringes, to be bringing other up from the bottom to the top. Our postion not one of power and of authority, but of hope, and help and encouragement. We bring the truth of the kingdom, the promises of God into fruition in the lives of others. We have been brought into the center and now we too bring others in, making the kingdom of God a reality not only for ourselves for all those who need to be pulled in, lifted up and given honor. Once the kingdom of God has been brought into reality in our lives, we then bring it into reality into the lives of others as well.