Daily Reading & Meditation

 Thursday (January 29):  "The measure you give"

Scripture:  Mark 4:21-25

21 And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. 23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." 24 And he said to them, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. 25 For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

Meditation: What does the image of light and a lamp tell us about God's kingdom? Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood "light" as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God's grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace.

Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God's kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.

Jesus remarks that nothing can remain hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and from God. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways and bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them from others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all.

There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God's light and who seek his truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him; they will not lack what they need to live as Christ's disciples, and they will shine as lights to those who hunger for God's truth and wisdom. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God's light?

"Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed."

Psalm 132:1-5, 11-14

1 Remember, O LORD, in David's favor, all the hardships he endured;
2 how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3 "I will not enter my house or get into my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids,
5 until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob."
11 The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back:  "One of the sons of your body  I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies which I shall teach them, their sons also for ever shall sit upon your throne."
13 For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation:
14 "This is my resting place for ever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Called to shine in the midst of darkness, by Tertullian, 160-225 A.D.

"Why does the Lord call us the light of the world? Why has he compared us to a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14)? Are we not called to shine in the midst of darkness, and stand up high for those most sunk down? If you hide your lamp beneath a bushel (Matthew 5:15; Luke 8:26, 11:33), you will soon notice that you yourself will be in the dark. You will find others bumping into you. So what can you do to illumine the world? Let your faith produce good works. Be a reflection of God's light. The good is not preoccupied with darkness. It rejoices in being seen (John 3:21). It exults over the very pointings which are made at it. Christian modesty not only wishes to be modest, but also it wishes to be beheld as what it actually is." (excerpt from ON THE APPAREL OF WOMEN 2.13)


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author Don Schwager 2015 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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