Bible Reading Update #9
Good afternoon everyone!
I’ve enjoyed spending time in God’s Word through reading the gospels this summer, and I can’t believe we are into our third and final month. I’ve loved receiving emails from some of you telling me how you have been encouraged through reading your Bibles. I know hearing testimonies and insights from others has been a blessing to you as well as me, so I’d like to share some things that encouraged/challenged some of us this week.
~ Luke 17:10 jumped out at me this week. In it Jesus says, “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Even when we do all that the Bible says, we are still unworthy slaves of all that God has done for us. Recognizing this takes humility. It’s easy to think just because we go to church, respect our parents, and don’t lie, we are pleasing God. However, this verse explains that, no matter what we do, we are unworthy slaves of Christ’s sacrifice — and it’s important that we understand that.
~ In response to those who thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately, Jesus tells a parable about ten minas (Luke 19:11-27). Throughout the parable, Jesus reveals that the kingdom will not be seen in its fullness until Christ returns. It begins small and grows gradually. The parable begins with Jesus saying, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come’” (Luke 19:12-13). The command “Do business till I come” stood out to me. In other translations it reads: “Do business with this until I come back”, “Trade ye herewith till I come”, “Occupy till I come”, “Put this money to work until I come back, and “Engage in business until I come”. I looked in the Greek dictionary, and the word used here is pragmateuomai, which means to “do business, trade, be engaged in business”. This word only occurs one time in the New Testament, and it is here. This stood out to me because it is one of very few examples in Jesus’ teachings where He uses business activity in a positive way. The main point of this parable is really on stewardship. We are to be good stewards of what the Lord has given to us until He returns. Am I being a good steward? Am I expanding the business (the kingdom) of Jesus Christ while I await His return? What is stewardship anyway? I did some research. Wikipedia says that, “in the beginning stewardship referred to the household servant’s duties for bringing food and drink to the owner’s dining hall.” But the Bible also refers to stewardship as a responsibility to shepherd and safeguard the valuables of others. Am I shepherding and safeguarding what God has given me? Am I sharing the gospel and winning souls for Christ? Proverbs 11:30 says, “he that wins souls is wise”. Am I growing the kingdom of God? Am I sharing the treasure of the gospel of Jesus Christ? In business, it’s a good and right stewardship practice to leave the company in better shape for your successor than it was handed over to you. What am I doing to grow the kingdom so that my successors (the future generations) will be in better shape than my generation was? What more should I be doing to grow the kingdom of God by putting to work the minas that Jesus has given me until He returns?
~ I enjoyed reading the parable of the ten lepers in Luke 17:10-19. Jesus heals ten lepers, but only one returns to praise God and thank Him. When you desperately want God to hear you, and answer your prayers, are you thankful enough to thank Him if He does give you your desires? If I ask God to heal a friend who is sick, how many times do I thank Him when He heals her? We so often forget all that God does for us. We are like the other nine lepers who need healing, but not enough to praise and thank God when He brings it about. One of my favorite verses is 1 Samuel 12:24: ” Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
I hope you all have a wonderful week and are open to hearing what God might be showing you through His Word.