Seeking Justice in a Post-Christian America

Today’s reading is Luke 18.

We are being told again and again that we live in a post-Christian America. Christians no longer have the social equity we once had. Our influence seems stripped. Even though no Christian in America has been imprisoned, beaten, or executed for our Christian faith, some among us are up in arms about political attacks on Christianity, social attacks, cultural attacks, even attacks made by entertainment outlets. We hear about ways to fight the battle including going to the voting booth, boycotting businesses, taking to social media with outcries of rage. What was Jesus’s suggestion to people who were in a very similar situation? “He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” That parable was about a widow who pestered an unrighteous judge. Through her continual pestering, the judge was moved to administer justice in her case. Then Jesus explains, if an unrighteous judge would be moved by the continual pleading of the widow, how much more will our righteous God who loves us be moved by the pleading of His children. Jesus speaks of justice for God’s elect who cry out to Him day and night. This calls to mind the crying out of the ancient Israelites in Egyptian bondage. God heard them and remembered His covenant. I’m not saying it is wrong to vote or that you can’t choose where you will take your business. Teaching on social media is good, though the outcries of rage probably need to stop. The question we need to ask is how many among us are crying out to God day and night? He won’t act because we have mobilized a campaign that elects a godly president. He won’t act because we have taken to the airwaves with messages in line with His Word. He won’t act because we’ve boycotted sinners out of business. He will act when we “pester” Him in prayer, crying out day and night.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 18.

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Faithful Stewardship

Today’s reading is Luke 16.

Perhaps one of the reasons I always struggle with the parable we discussed yesterday is because the text goes directly from giving us an unfaithful steward as an example to talking about being a faithful steward. I think we need to see this point about faithful stewardship as Point 2 in Jesus’s brief sermon about stewardship of finances. The first point: use your stewardship as a blessing to others, and blessing means helping them get to eternal dwellings. The second point: be faithful with the stewardship. That is, do what the Master wants with the things that belong to Him. Otherwise, He won’t welcome you into eternal dwellings. We have a tendency to think all the money that flows through our hands in this life is a really, really big deal. But Jesus explains our house, our car, our clothes, our finances down here on earth are actually very little. In the grand scheme of things, they aren’t really important. It is what is coming in eternity that is the big, big deal. What I find even more amazing is that little statement that is often overlooked. What we have now isn’t even our own. However, if we are faithful in the stewardship of what is God’s right now, in eternity we will be blessed with what is our own. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what that means. I just know I want it. Which gets back to Jesus’s main point. We are stewards. The #1 principle for stewardship is to do what the Master wants done with what belongs to Him. Be faithful to the Master with what belongs to Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 16.

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Shrewd Stewardship

Today’s reading is Luke 16.

I admit the first parable in this week’s chapter is the one I have the greatest struggle with. Every time I study it, I have all kinds of questions but I always end up coming back to this: Jesus actually explains His point. He is not providing an allegory which I need to break down into the component parts and find parallels to multiple aspects in my life. I simply need to Hear His point and apply it. The point is simply this: we are stewards of resources that will ultimately fail us. Storing up money and possessions will not help us in eternity. As they say, “You can’t take it with you.” How then should we use these goods? We should use them to develop relationships with people who will welcome us into the eternal dwellings of God. We should share, we should give, we should bless others. Don’t hoard them. Don’t waste them. Use them to draw others to God. Use them to bless others. Then when this stewardship ends, as it ultimately will, we will be welcomed in eternity by the brothers and sisters whom God blessed through us. How are you administering your stewardship?

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 16.

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How Shrewd

Today’s reading is Luke 16.

I admit it; what we call “The Parable of the Dishonest Manager” or “The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward” is, to me, the oddest of Jesus’s parable. Here is a person so absolutely opposite of everything Jesus teaches held up as some kind of example. He is a terrible steward. Then as he is being judged, he uses his stewardship authority to provide for himself instead of helping his master. However, the master is able to say what he did was shrewd, cunning, prudent. Why? I think it is because he used the stewardship authority he was given to focus on the future. The story tells us again and again the man is unrighteous. Jesus isn’t giving us an example of righteous behavior, but of shrewd, cunning, prudent behavior. Unrighteous people know how to use unrighteous mammon to prepare for the future. Of course, the problem is they don’t think far enough in the future. Jesus’s point, I believe, is children of light need to couple their righteous behavior with a shrewd, cunning, prudent use of money, material goods, and finances not to prepare for the same future the unrighteous dwell on, but to prepare for eternal dwellings. We need to remember God has given us stewardship authority not to provide a house, a car, clothes, even an earthly retirement. Rather, we should use it to populate the eternal dwellings with people who will receive us into those dwellings. In other words, God blesses us with financial resources so we can share the gospel of the eternal kingdom. Let’s be shrewd about that–not skimpy, not tight-fisted–shrewd.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 17.

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