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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Focus: Serving One Master

Then Jesus said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property.  So he summoned him and said to him, 'What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.'

Then the manager said to himself, 'What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.  I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.'

So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' He answered, 'A hundred jugs of olive oil.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.'  Then he asked another, 'And how much do you owe?' He replied, 'A hundred containers of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill and make it eighty.'

And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.   And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

"Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.  If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?  No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." -
Luke 16:1-13

Here we go again. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Jesus reminds us over and over what our priorities must be. We have been saved by the blood of Christ. His saving grace is a gift outright. Baptism makes us Christians, but only if we live in his love. If we don’t, we’re really not Christians; we’re just baptized pagans… masquerading as Christians. To be a Christian means to follow Christ. It’s as simple as that. We must take up our cross and follow him, knowing that at the very least our faith will cost us time, treasure and convenience… knowing too that down the centuries it has cost countless Christians a steady stream of blood, sweat and tears.

To serve one Master, to carry the cross, means to put down the iPad, the five-iron and the remote. We need not throw them away. But we must understand that all the things the world values are potential distractions. And we must treat them accordingly. Which is why we must know our priorities… loving God and neighbor… rejoicing always in the Lord… building his kingdom… serving the least among us… witnessing Christ’s love in the world. We must develop habits of virtue, reflexes of holiness. We must leave no room for sin, filling our souls from the bottomless fount of God’s grace. We must seal up the avenues of temptation and open our hearts to the countless opportunities for goodness. We must give and forgive: humbly serving one Master… Almighty God, in three divine persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It’s very easy to write that all down, packing it into one paragraph. Living it, packing it into one lifetime is a very different story. That’s where faith comes in. In Christ, we know we always have instant, expert help only a prayer away. The Father who made us, the Son who saved us, the Holy Spirit who inhabits our every cell… God is with us always. His love is never rationed. He has not rigged the game against us. He does not want us to fail. He wants us safely home with him. His advice is simple, direct and effective: In euphoric success, serve the Lord. In confusion, serve the Lord. In disappointment, serve the Lord. In failure after failure, serve the Lord. In despair, serve the Lord. That is the glory of serving our one Master. In God there is no confusion, no disappointment, no failure, no despair.  There is only his love and all the gifts of his love… faith, hope, courage, wisdom, serenity.

Our Master knows our limitations. He knows our potential. He does not demand we produce results. He gives us no quotas for prayer or good works. Our Master loves us unconditionally, in our sins and in our foolishness. We are the Master’s masterpiece, the product of his love. He delights in us, asking only that our lives witness his love, praising the Father, following the Son, answering the Holy Spirit. Praising God is not a divine ego trip. It is practical advice aimed at aligning our lives with our Master’s purpose, steering us towards earthly serenity and eternal happiness. Paul tells us: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” That’s the kind of Master we have. There never was and never will be another… never petty, ever patient, always loving. Thank you, Master. We love you.

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