The Scripture lessons for September 18, 2016 were Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; and Luke 16:1-15. The theme for the day was “Being a Good Manager” and the message was delivered by Pastor Krause.
Pastor Krause began his message with a focus upon the day’s Gospel lesson, the Parable of the Dishonest Servant. Pastor Krause shared that the people to whom Jesus was speaking and we as readers of the parable upon a first hearing would probably be surprised that the rich man commends his dishonest servant in the parable. Pastor Krause was quick to point, however, that the rich man does not commend the dishonest servant for his dishonesty, but for being shrewd or wise.
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. (emphasis added)
Pastor Krause then talked a little about how non-Christians can at times be wiser (more shrewd) in their use of material goods and, therefore, better stewards than Christians. But he, also added that “the only way to be truly wise is to use things in God’s service.”
As I listened to Pastor Krause a number of Bible passages flooded my mind. First in the Epistle lesson for the day we read:
1 Timothy 2:3-4 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
God’s top desire is the eternal salvation of all people – each and every one of us. His desire is to share eternity with us and we with Him. To make this happen He developed a plan that would satisfy both His sense of justice and His mercy. He did so by establishing a mediator – His Son, Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom to make atonement for the sins of ALL people.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.
1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
However, God’s good and perfect will includes or involves much more than eternal salvation. His will and His plan are not to be experienced only in a life after death experience, but also in a temporal here and now experiences as well. And His plan involves you and I being honest and honorable stewards of His plan.
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
We further read:
Ephesians 4:1 …I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
1 John 3:17-18 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Luke 12:48 …From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In Ephesians 5 and in Colossians 4 we read:
Ephesians 5:15-16 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
Pastor Krause also touched on the phrase in the Old Testament lesson “…I will never forget anything they have done” Amos 8:7. We can struggle to understand this verse in light of such verses Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
In my reflections I do not believe “not remembering” in the Isaiah passage is talking about an absence of consciousness, but rather that our transgressions, our sin is and will never again be an issue or a factor in our relationship with God, our Lord and our Savior. The issue, our sin, has been recognized and dealt with. Grace does not minimize or ignore the righteous demands of the law and how we have fallen short. God knows our sin and by GRACE (God’s Riches At Christ Expense) He satisfies the righteous demands of the law through atonement.
Romans 3:23-25 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
Redemption is forgiveness, but it is more than forgiveness. In redemption we are JUSTIFIED through ATONEMENT made, whereby all accounts are settled. Satisfaction has been made. God’s righteousness, God’s justice and God’s mercy are ALL FULLY SATISFIED.
Questions for your consideration:
- How has God graced and blessed you spiritually and materially?
- With what has God entrusted you in terms of time, talents, treasure and message?
- How are you using and being a steward of the trust that God has bestowed upon you?
- How will you be a steward of this sacred trust this week?
Chime in with your thoughts and questions in the comment section!