Faithful with little

 

“Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much.  If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? If you haven’t been faithful with someone else’s property, who will give you your own?  No household servant can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. ” ~Luke 16:10-13 (CEB)

“Faithfulness is consecration in overalls. It is the steady acceptance and performance of the common duty and immediate task without any reference to personal preferences- because it is there to be done and so is a manifestation of the Will of God. It is Elizabeth Leseur settling down each day to do the household accounts quite perfectly (when she would much rather have been in church) and saying, ‘The duties of my station come before everything else.’ It is Brother Lawrence taking his turn in the Kitchen, and Saint Francis de Sales taking the burden of a difficult diocese and saying, ‘I have now little time for prayer- but I do what is the same.’

The fruits of the Spirit get less and less showy as we go on. Faithfulness means continuing quietly with the job we have been given, in the situation where we have been placed; not yielding to the restless desire for change. It means tending the lamp quietly for God without wondering how much longer it has got to go on.” ~From The Fruits of the Spirit by Evelyn Underhill

Day to day life can sometimes be tiring. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” reminds me that I can serve God in my everyday ordinariness. Phillippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing,” reminds me that I should do all things with a happy heart. Everyday life is often glamorless but the Bible tells me to still “rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

May all I do this day give glory to You O Lord. Help this day to remember not to grumble in the days ordinariness but to rejoice, always. Amen.

 

The gentle way

Jesus knew what they intended to do, so he went away from there. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them all. But he ordered them not to spread the word about him, so that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:  Look, my Servant whom I chose, the one I love, in whom I find great pleasure. I’ll put my Spirit upon him, and he’ll announce judgment to the Gentiles. He won’t argue or shout, and nobody will hear his voice in the streets. He won’t break a bent stalk, and he won’t snuff out a smoldering wick, until he makes justice win. And the Gentiles will put their hope in his name. ~Matthew 12:15-21 (CEB)

Sometimes we think that there are only two ways to respond to things in life, either with violence or passivity. But Jesus came to earth to show us that there is a third way to respond that is neither submission nor assault, neither fight or flight. This third way is gentleness which allows us to oppose without mirroring the evil we see, resist without emulating the oppressors and neutralize without destroying. Living out this gentle way requires imagination and creativity. Living out gentleness sometimes requires that we look between the blacks and whites of this world to see all the shades of grey.

Challenge me this day O Lord, to live in the shades of grey. Help me to remember to stop and doodle in the sand in the midst of heated conflict. If I must carry a load give me the strength to go beyond the required mile. Help me to woo others with Your love through creativity and imagination, not by force and by strength. Amen.

The best view

Jesus told this parable to certain people who had convinced themselves that they were righteous and who looked on everyone else with disgust:  “Two people went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with these words, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else—crooks, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of everything I receive.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he struck his chest and said, ‘God, show mercy to me, a sinner.’ I tell you, this person went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up. ” ~Luke 18:9-14 (CEB)

“When I was growing up, I thought the greatest Christians must be the person who walks around with shoulders thrown back because of tremendous inner strength and power, quoting Scripture and letting everyone know he has arrived. I have since learned that the most mature believer is the one who is bent over, leaning most heavily on the Lord, and admitting his total inability to do anything without Christ. The greatest Christian is not the one who has achieved the most but rather the one who has received the most. God’s grace, love, and mercy flow through him abundantly because he walks in total dependence.” ~From Fresh Faith by Jim Cymbala

Which image of a Christian would you relate to the most? The person who seems to have it all together perfectly? Or the person who has been broken but pieced back together by the Love of Christ? When all we see of each other is our “very best face” instead of the mosaic that is our hearts we remain isolated from each other and miss out on the community that God intended for us to share. It is not the Christian who “has it all together” that draws us out of the depths, but the one who “was once lost, but know is found”.

Today Lord, help me to show my “real self” to every person that I meet. Let them see that once I was broken, once I was lost but let them see that You sent Your Son into the world to retrieve me out of the depths and piece me back together. Let Your light shine though the mosaic of my heart. May they find Your Beauty and Grace. Amen.

Present-centeredness

Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truths, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old ~Psalm 25:4-6 (KJV)

“Present-centeredness describes this important prerequisite of contemplation. Too often we find ourselves ‘distracted’ or ‘abstracted,’ that is, not all there. Both terms are derived from two Latin words: trahere meaning ‘to be yanked or pulled’ and de or ab meaning ‘from.’ When we are distracted or abstracted, we have been pulled from the present by some concern, thought, or action. Often it is guilt and regret over the past or concerns and worries about the future than keep us from living in the present. Dwelling in the past and projecting ourselves into the future both have the same result; they fragment our consciousness, leaving us unfocused. With one foot in the past and the other in the future, this bifurcated way of being splits our attention and ruins our ability to appreciate fully what is occurring before our very eyes.” ~From The Enduring Heart by Wilkie Au

It is my belief that in the “present” I find God’s presence. In the “present” my focus is on Him. In this “present” moment is where I will find the kingdom of God.

Help me to be ever focused on you this day Lord so that I may feel Your presence in my Life. Help me to not be pulled away by the guilt of the past or the worries of the future. Help me to be in Your presence now for this moment. Amen.

Stressful times

An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the greatest.

But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

“You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. And I confer royal power on you just as my Father granted royal power to me. Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel. ~Luke 22:24-30 (CEB)

Being a disciple was becoming stressful. The pace clearly had quickened during this three-year course in discipleship. The crowds had grown larger and demanded more. The lessons to be learned often seemed over the heads of the disciples. Jesus talked more and more about his own death and what was to follow. Frankly the disciples did not understand it, and the more confused they became, the more frustrated they became. We can appreciate that phenomenon. It happens to us. When we are under a heavy load for a long period of time, we often become frustrated, impatient, and sometimes not very nice to be around. We even begin to compare ourselves to others and begin to think that we deserve a little bigger slice of the reward pie than even our closest friend.

That kind of reaction to stress may explain why the disciples began arguing about who was to be regarded as the greatest among those who followed Jesus. Jesus shattered their hopes of achieving special status or special reward (Luke 22:26).

The world’s system of reward has nothing to do with the disciple’s system of reward. A disciple of Jesus Christ is called first to be servant of all, and the leader is to take the lowliest position of service. This system turns the world’s concept of leadership upside down. The first disciples found it hard to understand and even more difficult to live by such a value system. But Jesus seems to say there is no other way. Disciples serve. ~From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Heavenly Father, help me to keep my focus on whatever is true, not on the things that I perceive to be true. In my trials ease my frustration, bolster my patience and help me love those You have placed in my life with Your heart. Help me to serve others this day so that I can be Your hands and feet to the world. Amen.

The Love of a child

People were bringing children to Jesus so that he would bless them. But the disciples scolded them. When Jesus saw this, he grew angry and said to them, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children.  I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it. ” Then he hugged the children and blessed them. ~Mark 10:13-16

No one loves like a child. This is how God wants me to love Him, that unconditional love, that love that completely believes that the parent can provide for all their needs, a complete dependence for the provision of those needs. A child is free to not know all the answers but has the assurance of where those answers may be found. Children adore their parents.

The Kingdom of God is like a child secure in the love of a parent.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for allowing me to come to You as a child comes to a parent. I thank You for Your love that You pour out on me every day. I thank You that I know that I am Your Beloved child. Amen.

Rooted in love

See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure. Every person who practices sin commits an act of rebellion, and sin is rebellion. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. Every person who remains in relationship to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him. ~1 John 3:1-6 (CEB)

“The word ‘radical’ means going to the root, getting down to essentials. People who get down to essentials and stay with them, no matter what the changes around them, are and remain radial. They are rooted in something that endures. The most radical element of our faith is the unconditional love of God. The more we internalize this truth, the greater the transformation that happens within us. Transformation has to do with freedom, freedom to live and love like Christ.” ~From Free to ray, Free to Love by Max Olivia, S.J.

O Lord, may I ever be rooted in Your love. May Your truths be seeded deeply and knowledge and wisdom spring forth. May the seedlings You have watered shoot forth from my heart flowing into those You have placed in my life.  Help me to stay radical in You. Amen.

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