My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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The Currency of Wealth
An offering to be used in kingdom work.
Luke 16:14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. 15 So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.
Jesus had just finished the parable about the good manager who had been honest in all of his dealings. Not only was he honest, but he was fair and just. Finally Jesus concluded by saying that those who could be trusted with little would be trusted with much, but that those who were dishonest with little, could not be trusted. If the goal of someone was to become wealthy at the expense of others, by dishonest means, then they could not be trusted to manage the kingdom of God. This made the Pharisees very angry because they knew that he was talking about them. They loved their money and were pleased to make it any way possible. Obviously they had learned to justify their actions and were feeling good about themselves. This, Jesus would not tolerate and he condemned them for what was prized in their hearts. They could not serve both God and wealth.
This is a tricky passage because there are some very good people who are wealthy. They have learned to manage very well and are servants who deal honestly in all they do and willingly share their good fortune with others. This is the beauty of wholeheartedly serving in the kingdom. I think it comes with a reality that you are simply a steward of what God has provided and not that you are the owner. The good manager understands that they don’t own the money, but that it belongs to God in the first place. Unfortunately, I think that these people are the exception, rather than the rule.
Jesus got to the point of the issue with the Pharisees because it turned out to be a heart issue. Most of us would say that money is not a heart issue for us, but that may be because we don’t have a ton of it! But what do we think about the resources or the things that we do have? What is it that we prize in our own hearts? Maybe it’s not things, but it could be attitudes. Maybe we value the opinions that we have and we are unwilling and unbending in submitting those to the authority of Jesus Christ. These days, opinions, especially expressed on social media, are currency. Some of us are willing to engage in the exchange of that currency, justifying ourselves for our words in the sight of others. But God knows our hearts and trying to win the day, no matter the cost to others, is an abomination in the sight of God.
The currency of wealth may or may not be money, but anything that we prize in our heart over Jesus becomes a stumbling block to ourselves and to others. We waste time justifying ourselves instead of managing the kingdom resources well. Currency of any kind is a distraction from humble servant leadership in God’s kingdom.
Lord, may my eyes be opened to your kingdom and may I learn to manage your resources well. Please, keep me honest in all my dealings. Amen.
Scripture: Proverbs 21:17Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want; whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich. Observation:
Some have said that this verse speaks of the dangers of an Epicurean life-style. What does that mean? Generally we have attributed this to the teaching of Epicurus, a philosopher who was born in 341 BC. He encouraged people to find a static state of pleasure where one was satiated — or full. When the pleasures have been completely, or entirely satisfied, then one feels full. Later Epicurean societies adopted a motto: Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo ("I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”). In contemporary society this phrase has been adopted to be used at humanist funerals, or to be carved as an epitaph on a headstone.
The problem is that they don’t understand what Wisdom was trying to say. Pleasure alone would ultimately leave one wanting. The Epicurean life of rich foods and drink, as well as the investment in oils and cosmetics could not be sustained. T…
Proverbs 15:17Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. Observation:
The guests are invited to dinner but the host is concerned that there is little to offer. Without the financial resources of the wealthy, they are unable to kill a fatted ox and can only serve vegetables. While some may be discouraged by this, wisdom tells us that the satisfaction depends upon the appetite of the guest. If the guests who are invited are hungry, then even a small meal will be enjoyed and received with gratitude. They will experience the love of the host who was willing to share all he had with his guests. Application:
I was born in Germany where my parents served as missionaries. It seems that our financial resources were often limited, and yet, there was an endless supply of guests at our table. Not only did we have our dear German friends gathering with us at the table, but also many visitors from other countries who would stop by, wanting to see “t…
Scripture: Job 38:1-2 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Observation: Trying to give a reason for Job’s circumstances, his friends had provided every explanation imaginable to the human mind. Now, it was time for God’s response and reality is brought into focus. The friends were bringing counsel to Job, but they did not have knowledge. There was far too much that they did not understand. Following this question God reminds Job that God alone has power over creation, and this knowledge is far beyond Job’s understanding. Therefore, the words of Job’s friends are hollow with misunderstanding. They do not know God, and should not presume to speak for God, for their counsel becomes words without knowledge. Application: If our first instinct is not to run to the Lord in difficult circumstances, we may be allowing ourselves to be counseled by words without knowledge. There are plenty of people who are willing to give us ad…