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You Gotta Serve Somebody

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 16:10-17 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Steve Adams):

I really like the way the Contemporary English Version renders verse 13, so I’m including it here, even though it’s not one of our “usual” Bible resources:

You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money.   Luke 16:13, CEV 

“You can have it all!” “I don’t want much — just everything!”  By culture’s standards, this seems like the way of self-actualization. But, the “I can have it all” mentality can get us into serious trouble. The truth is, we can’t have it all. Many times in life, we have to make a CHOICE.  No person can serve two masters.  When Jesus declares this, it makes me think about how often we ignore, deny, or downright run away from this truth.

In this instance, Jesus is showing the Pharisees that they can’t have both God and money as their masters. When there’s a hard choice to make, they’re going to go after the money and leave God behind. What a lesson for us! If someone approached you with a business arrangement that would give you several thousand dollars each year, but would cheat the investors, how would you react? It doesn’t sound so evil when the leader says “It’s not that bad. It only takes a little from each of them, and, besides, don’t worry — no one will ever know!”

No one will ever know?  What about God? What about Jesus? Even if no one else on earth finds out, the most important person alive would! But, even this misses the point. If my only deterrent to wrong behavior is that Jesus will find out, then I just don’t get it. I must get to the point where I cringe at the thought of going against my Master’s will, because I have the same values as He does. In other words, the values of the Lord Jesus Christ have become my values, so for me to disregard them would be detestable to me.

There’s a positive side to this, though!  Just think of what we can do to help build the Kingdom of God with our money.  When Jesus has His rightful place as Lord and I’m cognizant not only of this life but also of eternity, then a whole universe of possibilities opens up.

Just think of meeting a stranger in Heaven who says, “I want to thank you for the money you gave to your church, because it reached me where I lived in Sudan, and helped me find God.”  And you are so thankful that you gave, instead of doing what would have been so easy to do — spend the money on something you wanted for yourself. Whenever we invest in the Kingdom of God, we are investing in what’s really important — true, eternal riches!

Thought for the day:  Troy Perry, the founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, often says, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” How am I doing at having no other master than Jesus?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading.  If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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