Daily Reading & Meditation

 Tuesday (October 22): "Blessed are they who open at once when he knocks"

Scripture:  Luke 12:35-38

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!

Meditation: How do you react when someone who is in a position of power and authority shows up unexpectely to see what you are doing and you are caught off guard? The Boy Scouts have as their motto, Be Prepared! Jesus' master-servant parables seem to extol the virtue of preparedness. But there is something deeper and even more important behind it. There is an element of surprise in the story of the master returning home at a late hour after attending a marriage feast. Will the master catch his servant sleeping rather than keeping watchful guard? And what about the reward promised for those who faithfully perform their duty, day in and day out, no matter what the circumstances?  The image Jesus uses here is a great wedding feast in which the master honors his guests by seating them himself and personally waiting on them. What a great reversal the master becomes a servant to show his geat respect and honor for his beloved guests!

This parable 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. Why is fidelity, commitment, and faithfulness so difficult today? Many today in western society extol freedom over fidelity and don't want to be bound to an unknown or uncertain future. It's regarded as inconvenient and a burden to the pursuit of the individual's interests. We badly need to recover this virtue, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of future generations as well. If we want to pass on the faith then we need to first be faithful models for our young people.

Faithfulness demands consistency, a determination to stay the course and see the task to its completion. Cal Ripken, an American baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, is a sports hero and a legend to many simply because he always showed up for the game and gave his best. He didn't miss one game in 16 years of playing baseball! That's a total of 2,632 consecutive games. Only one other baseball player in history has come close to that record. In 1983 he hurt his hand sliding on artificial turf and was unable to grip the bat at first; he somehow gritted his teeth and got five hits that night, two of them home runs.

God loves faithfulness. That is why we can always expect God to give us what he promises. In turn, God expects us to be faithful to him and to one another. 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. Our reward is the Lord Jesus himself who shares with us his joy and friendship "well done good and faithful servant ..enter into the joy of your Master" (Matthew 25:21).

"Lord Jesus, you are faithful even when I fail. Help me to persevere in faithfulness and not shrink back in the face of challenges or difficulties. May I never forget your presence with me and may I always be ready to receive you when you call me to your home."

Psalm 40:7-10, 16

6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire; but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me;
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;  Behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hid your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;  I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the LORD!"

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 (c) 2013 Don Schwager