Monday, August 23, 2010

Be Prepared

Luke  or "Loukas" came from Antioch in present day Syria. Antioch incidentally had "the very first Gentile Household Church" and also where the followers of Jesus were first known as "Christians." Luke was a doctor and known for being observant, analytical and careful in his records.

There are two themes in Luke 12 concerning "financial responsibility." Jesus takes the opportunity to lay down what his followers' attitude to money and possessions should be.

He had something to say both to those who had an abundant supply of material possessions and to those who had not. Both were "to lay up treasure in heaven." It is however not the money that is very often the problem but the love of it. A Roman proverb says, "money is like sea-water; the more a person drinks the thirstier he becomes." It's more a question of how we use what we have been so graciously given by God.

The founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, had a rule of life. It was to "save all he could and give away all he could." When he was at Oxford he had an income of 30 British pounds a year. He lived on 28 pounds and gave 2 pounds away. When his income increased to 60 pounds, 90 pounds and even 120 pounds per year, he still lived on 28 pounds and gave the balance away.

You think we have too many taxes. In Wesley's day, there was a tax on windows and another on silver dishes. The "Accountant-General for Household Plate" demanded an annual return from Wesley. His reply was, "I have two silver tea spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate which I have at present; and I shall not buy any more, while so many around me want bread."

Jesus speaks in Luke 12  of the servant's preparedness in waiting for the master to return. The "master's return" refers here either to the Second Coming of Christ or to the time of our own death when we are summoned to meet our Maker. There is praise for the servant who is ready. Jesus says "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning." "Be dressed ready for service," refers to the long flowing robes in the east which were a hindrance to work so when a servant prepared to work he hitched up his robes under his belt to leave himself free for activity.

"Keep your lamps burning" said Jesus. The eastern lamp was like a cotton wick floating in a sauce-boat of oil. The wick had to always be kept trimmed and the lamp replenished with oil or the light would go out. So this theme of preparedness permeates the second half of Luke 12. It begs the question, "How would we like God to find us?"

We would like God to find us with our Christian work completed.Life for so many of us is filled with loose ends. There are things undone and things half done; things put off and things not even attempted. Our evergreen list may never be completed but our Christian work should. We are called upon to "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness."
We would like God to find us at peace with our fellow human beings. It would be a haunting thing to pass from this world with bitterness towards someone in our hearts.

We should like God to find us at peace with God himself. It will make all the difference whether we feel that we are going out to meet a stranger or an enemy, or going to fall asleep in the arms of Jesus. No one can tell the day or the hour when eternity will invade our time and our summons will come. How, then, will God find us?
That's what I think anyway.

Rev Ron

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