“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” (Matthew 25:14)
Several kingdom parables in the New Testament provide glimpses into two major principles: God’s provision and our management of His wealth.
In the parable of the talents found in Matthew, the “talents” (money) belong to the “lord of those servants” (Matthew 25:19), and he gave to “every man according to his several ability” (Matthew 25:15). Each steward had the master’s confidence and trust, and success of enterprise depended upon the servant’s productivity. Each steward received varied amounts of resources according to the master, and the reward was based on faithful use of those resources.
Luke’s parallel account (Luke 19:13-27) focused on the percent of return. In both cases, the stewards were essentially asked, “What did you do with what you were given?” Each had enormous freedom in his management and the opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities.
God funds His work through His people. The funding of the tabernacle building project (Exodus 35) is a good example. The Israelites were recently freed slaves who had all been given gold by the Egyptians until there was more than enough.
The funding of the temple during David’s reign (1 Chronicles 28 and 29) is another excellent example. The leaders gave vast amounts of wealth and building materials, setting an example for the rest of the nation. Though they did not actually build it, they had the vision for it, and their children eventually did it. God works no miracles to meet critical needs except through the miraculous giving of His willing people. HMM III
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.
A man in India named KA Ranjith strapped on his motorcycle helmet and roared off to St. Mary’s High School in Kandanad, where he works as a teacher. When he arrived and pulled his helmet off, he saw a venomous snake known as a common krait was coiled inside and had joined him for the seven-mile ride. Ranjith rushed to the local hospital where doctors determined he hadn’t been bitten, but nonetheless Ranjith decided to destroy his helmet in a fire and replace it.
The old serpent, the devil, is always trying to get into our mind. He wants us to set our mind on high things—that is, to be filled with pride, desire, and vainglorious ambition. The Bible says, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
God wants our mind to be humble, concerned about others, and willing to associate with the needy. As we allow Him to mold our life, we’re able to live a life of meekness.
Meekness and lowliness of heart should be the distinguishing feature of the disciple. Andrew Murray
Love Is a Verb – Romans 12:9-21 – Skip Heitzig
“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”
Riptide. Batgirl. Jumpstart. These are a few names given to counselors at the summer camp our family attends every year. Created by their peers, the camp nicknames usually derive from an embarrassing incident, a funny habit, or a favorite hobby.
Nicknames aren’t limited to camp—we even find them used in the Bible. For example, Jesus dubs the apostles James and John the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). It’s rare in Scripture for someone to give themselves a nickname, yet it happens when a woman named Naomi asks people to call her “Mara,” which means “bitterness” (Ruth 1:20), because both her husband and two sons had died. She felt that God had made her life bitter (v. 21).
The new name Naomi gave herself didn’t stick, however, because those devastating losses were not the end of her story. In the midst of her sorrow, God had blessed her with a loving daughter-in-law, Ruth, who eventually remarried and had a son, creating a family for Naomi again.
Although we might sometimes be tempted to give ourselves bitter nicknames, like “failure” or “unloved,” based on difficulties we’ve experienced or mistakes we’ve made, those names are not the end of our stories. We can replace those labels with the name God has given each of us, “loved one” (Romans 9:25), and look for the ways He’s providing for us in even the most challenging of times.
When I was a young boy, my mother let me plant some seeds in her garden. Although she explained that the plants would take time to appear, when nothing happened after several days, I decided to dig them up to check for progress. I found no plants, but what’s worse, I also ruined the possibility of ever seeing any.
Hebrews 11 records examples of people who by faith waited for what God promised, even when it wasn’t visible.
• Noah continued building an ark despite the many intervening years until the predicted flood (Heb. 11:7).
• Abraham looked forward to the land God promised, though the fulfillment did not take place during his lifetime (Heb. 11:8-10).
• Sarai had to wait until she was well beyond childbearing age before God finally gave her the son He’d promised (Heb. 11:11-12).
If we expect God to work according to our timetable, we’re likely to face disappointment. The people mentioned in Hebrews had to wait many years; in fact, some of the promises made to them won’t be fulfilled until after Christ returns. The Lord doesn’t work like a gumball machine—we can’t cash in a promise and assume the fulfillment will pop out. Ours is a long-term walk by faith.
“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)
The doctrine of creation is not merely a “scientific” debate. The opposite concepts of natural and evolutionary development versus the fiat creation of an omnipotent, omniscient, and transcendent Being impact every facet of our worldview. God owns the earth; He is its Creator (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1-2; Revelation 4:11; and hundreds of other passages throughout the Bible).
Christians who revere the biblical revelation of God are not to be in conflict with this most basic of all doctrines. God owns the living creatures that inhabit the earth (Psalm 50:10). He owns the metals that establish monetary value in the earth (Haggai 2:8). He claims ownership over our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19). He even states ownership of our very souls (Ezekiel 18:4). Nothing is excluded from the sphere of His ownership and kingship (1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Isaiah 45:12; Colossians 1:16-17). And we are to manage God’s resources as stewards of the Owner.
Lucifer’s error was that he thought he could become like the Owner, usurping all the rights and privileges of the Creator (Isaiah 14:12-14). Israel’s error was similar; they behaved as if their possessions were their own property (Malachi 3:8-10). The prodigal son claimed for himself the right of ownership and treated the money as if it were his own (Luke 15:12-14). The unfaithful steward made no effort to be productive (Matthew 25:24).
We have been delegated authority over the creation itself (Genesis 1:28), are required to be faithful with the “mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2), and are expected to administer “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). May God preserve us from self-serving stewardship. HMM III