Faithful in Service

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Monday, February 23, 2015, 5:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Sheep.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 16:1-9 (NASB).

The Parable

This passage of scripture begins with a parable of a rich man who had in his employ a manager who squandered the rich man’s possessions, so the rich man called him to account for his actions. He told the man that he could no longer be his manager. The manager was, thus, befuddled as to what he should do next. So, he devised a plan to endear himself to his neighbors and friends in hope that they would invite him into their homes. For each one of them he reduced the debt they owed the rich man. The rich man, astoundingly, actually praised “the unrighteous manager because he acted shrewdly” in his dealings with the rich man’s debtors, because he knew the manager had done so in order to secure some future provision for himself, or so he thought. Evidently it was the craftiness of the man that the rich man commended, and not the manager’s actions themselves, for the manager did an injustice to the rich man by reducing the debt owed him by his neighbors and friends.

Jesus then said, “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

Given a Trust

I admit that this parable is a little troublesome to me, and that I find it difficult to comprehend, so I pray for understanding. Yet, Jesus chose to use this parable to teach a lesson, and the intended recipients of the lesson appear to be the Pharisees, though it certainly applies to all people. The point of the lesson seems to be that we have all been given a trust. All of humankind has been given the earth, the creatures of the earth, life, and the knowledge of God within our hearts, for which we are responsible to give care and to manage properly. All believers in Jesus Christ have been given salvation from sin, the Holy Spirit within us, the Word of God, gifts of the Spirit, assignments (parts) within the body of Christ, and the promise of heaven and eternal life with God. And we, too, are responsible to manage well what God has given to us, and to bring a good return for God’s investment in our lives in entrusting all of this to us.

Unfaithful in Service

Yet, some of us have been unfaithful in managing what has been entrusted to us. Many have not believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, i.e. they have not given their hearts and lives to God even though the knowledge of God has been placed within them (See Romans 1). Many of those who know God, by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, or who profess to know God, have been unfaithful in their commitments to our Lord Jesus, for they have not or they are not leaving their lives of sin behind them, they have not truly turned to follow the Lord Jesus in obedience, and they have not humbled themselves before God in being his willing servants in doing what he has called us to do. They are busy living for themselves or are just plain lazy, self-centered, selfish, distracted or otherwise occupied with other things other than living for Jesus Christ and being his servants.

The Confrontation

So, God is saying to us, “What have you done with what I have given to you?” To some he may be saying that, because of their unfaithfulness, they must be removed from this earth, and that they do not have the promise of heavenly rewards. To others he may be saying that he must remove them from managing his affairs until they repent of their sin, until they choose to no longer squander what has been entrusted to them, and until they decide to bear fruit in keeping with repentance and to serve the Lord with faithfulness. To others of us he may be pointing a finger on particular areas of our lives where we are weak in being faithful and where we need to yield to the Lordship of Christ. All in all we must all have to answer this question as to what we have done with what we have been given.

Acting Wisely

The point, I believe, that we are to receive from this parable is not only that we should evaluate and examine our own lives, admitting our sin of unfaithfulness, but that we should act wisely in doing what is required and necessary for us to make provision for our future, but not in our own flesh, or in deceptiveness or craftiness, but according to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of scripture (of Jesus and the apostles). In other words, when confronted with the knowledge that we have been unfaithful to the trust God has given to us, and when we are warned of the consequences of such unfaithfulness, we should act wisely by humbling ourselves before God, repenting of our sin, and by submitting to the Lordship of Christ in now doing what he has called us to do in being his faithful and wise servants in following him wherever he leads us from this point forward.

My Sheep / An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.