pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Ever Ready

Reading: Luke 12: 35-40

Verse 38: “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready”.

In Jesus’ words that we looked at yesterday, he instructed the disciples not to be afraid. He emphasized God’s pleasure in giving them the kingdom. Jesus also encourages his followers to find and store up treasures in heaven. In our passage today Jesus speaks of being ready both daily and for his return. For his contemporary audience, they first thought Jesus’ return was imminent. Holding onto the treasures of the earth was not a priority for them if Jesus would return soon. They gave to others in need generously because they expected Jesus to return very soon.

While we live knowing that, yes, Jesus could come back this afternoon, we do not live with much urgency about our faith. That future return seems a long way off. Being ready for that return does not feel pressing. We do not like to consider our own departure either. So we have grown complacent. In our passage today, Jesus addresses this tendency, saying, “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready”. For Jesus, being ready does not mean waiting or doing nothing. For Jesus, being ready means living an active faith. Like the men who immediately opened the door when their master returned, we too should be ready to jump into action for Jesus, our master. When an opportunity comes to minister to or to pray for or to serve another comes along we should be ready to live out our faith.

Jesus calls us to be ready for two things in today’s reading. In order to be ready, we must first be prepared. To be ready to live out our faith, we must be ready spiritually. God’s word must be fresh upon our lips and Christ’s servant heart must be guiding us. Busyness or laziness cannot consume our lives or we will miss the opportunity. We also must be ready ourselves to meet our Jesus. We must ever live in a right relationship with him – talking with him daily, confessing our sins regularly, studying his example… In all ways may we be ready for our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear God, help me to always be ready. Do not allow me to become complacent or lazy. Give me this day a servant’s heart, willing to serve all I meet. Amen.

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Idleness

Reading: 2nd Thessalonians 3: 6-13

Our passage today is dangerous.  Paul is getting on the church in Thessalonica for laziness.  It is laziness in a few ways.  The laziness is something we continue to fight.

The first area Paul addresses is being idle.  This idleness in the faith is perhaps the most dangerous of the three forms that Paul addresses.  Many of the people are living as if Jesus has already returned.  They are not following what has been taught by the apostles.  Instead of faithful participation in worship and in the life of the church, their lifestyle has become a bit wild and has become a stumbling block to others.  They are not living a life worthy of the example taught and set by Jesus.

The second area of laziness that Paul addresses concerns working.  Some are taking advantage of the generosity of others.  Jesus and the apostles after Him taught about loving one’s neighbors and caring for the needy.  Apparently some who are capable of working are choosing not to work.  Instead they are taking advantage of others.  Paul says, in essence, if you want to eat then work.  He encourages them to follow the example they set when they were with them.

The third concern of Paul are the busybodies.  Some are appearing to be working hard or to be faithful to God, but are really deceiving themselves and others.  They are busy doing nothing.  Paul encourages them to drop the pretense and to get serious about living as a disciple if Jesus Christ.

I am guilty of all three charges at times.  At times, one can go through the motions of worship or Bible study.  One can pretend to be busy instead of making time to volunteer or serve.  On occasion, one might respond to a personal text or phone call while at work.  At other times, one may take advantage of others or a situation for one’s own benefit.  And every now and then, one may be idle while appearing to be busy.  That may really be a game of Solitaire up on the computer screen instead of that report.

It is a challenge to always faithfully serve  God and others and to always worship and love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  But it is our calling.  It follows the example that Christ set for us. Lord, help me in my weakness.  God, strengthen me when I am tempted.  Holy One, fill me with your Spirit when I feel weak.  Walk with me daily Jesus.