Daily Reading & Meditation

Sunday (August 11):  "Blessed are they who open at once"

Scripture: Luke 12:32-48

32 "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

35 "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour."

41 Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" 42 And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, `My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and  drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him  with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. 48 But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be  required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.

Meditation: What does a treasure, a thief, a wedding feast, and a homecoming have in common? Jesus loved to tell stories (in the form of parables) using common everyday images to draw some rather unusual comparisons and often quite unexpected lessons for his audience. There is an element of surprise in the story of the master returning home unexpectedly after the marriage feast. Will he catch his servant sleeping rather than keeping watchful guard over his master's estate? And how about the person who possessed great wealth, but woke up one day to discover that a thief had carried it all off. What does this say to us about the kingdom of heaven? The treasure God offers is of far greater value that any earthly treasure! But it's possible to lose this treasure if we do not guard what has been entrusted to us by God. In this parable what does the treasure of the kingdom refer to? It certainly refers to the kingdom of God in all its aspects. But in a special way, the Lord himself is the treasure we seek. If the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty (Job 22:22-23). The Lord offers us a relationship with him as his sons and daughters and the promise of eternal life as well. If we make the Lord our treasure, he, in turn, will make us his honored friends at his banquet table in heaven!

This parable also contains a lesson in faithfulness and a warning against sloth. Why is faithfulness so important to God?  For one, it's the foundation for any lasting and meaningful relationship. Faithfulness or fidelity allows us to persevere in living out an unswerving commitment. The Lord is committed to us in a bond of unbreakable love and fidelity. That is what covenant means keeping one's word, promise, and commitment no matter how tough or difficult it gets. Faithfulness is a key character trait of God and one that he expects of us. Fortunately God gives the grace and strength to be faithful.  He also rewards faithfulness. The joy and privilege of being a son or daughter of God carries with it an awesome responsibility. The Lord expects us to make good use of the gifts and graces he gives to us. The more he gives, the more he requires. The temptation while the Master is away is to put off for tomorrow what we know the Master expects us to do today. How can we grow in faithfulness? God's grace shows us the way. When we are faithful in the little tasks and promises we make, we learn to be faithful in the bigger and more important responsibilities and tasks entrusted to us.Are you ready to give God an account of your stewardship?

Why is fidelity or faithfulness so difficult today? Modern society extols freedom over fidelity and doesn't want to be bound to an unknown or uncertain future.  It's also inconvenient and a burden to the pursuit of one's own interests. We badly need to recover this virtue, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of the next generation as well. If we want to pass on the faith then we need to first be faithful models for our youth.

"Lord, you are faithful even when I fail. Help me to remain faithful to you and to not shrink back when I encounter difficulties. Make me diligent in the exercise of my responsibilities and wise and prudent in the use of my gifts, time and resources."

Psalm 33:1,12,18-22

1 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield.
21 Yes, our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.


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 (c) 2013 Don Schwager