Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Choose God

The Orthodox Church Lectionary is a tool through which each devout Christian reads the Holy Scriptures daily. In the wisdom of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, Orthodox Christians read the entire New Testament, with the exception of Revelation, each year “piece by piece” each day. The readings for today are as follows:

2 Thessalonians 2.13-3.5 - But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

Luke 16.1-9 -  He also said to His disciples: "There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. "So he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' "Then the steward said within himself, 'What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 'I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.' "So he called every one of his master's debtors to him, and said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' "And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' So he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' "Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' So he said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.' "So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.

In the Gospel lesson for today, if we take at face value JUST the verses written, we might think that Jesus was praising shrewdness and dishonesty. But this parable does not elevate shrewdness. Instead it suggests that eventually the shrewd and dishonest steward will eventually fail, and THEN his only hope will be those FOR whom He was dishonest. Notice it isn’t the master who will be his friend in the end, but those who profited by his dishonesty. (see Luke 16.9)

But in the next verses, though they are not read today) we find a deeper understanding...
Luke 16.10-13 - "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? "And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

If we read these verses we understand meaning Christ wants to understand. He MUST choose our friends. Are we going to choose those who will only support us when we are shrewd and dishonest? Or will we choose God who will stand by us in our struggle and pain? I don’t know about you, but I choose God as my friend, and if that means I lose some friends in this life who would only support me when I am shrewd, then sobeit.

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