Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Whose Kid Are You?

Jesus was the master story teller. His stories were typically simple, familiar, memorable, relevant, practical, pointed, thought-provoking, and sometimes open-ended or even shocking. His story of the unjust manager in Luke 16 is all of the above with the added element of being a bit perplexing. Did Jesus really suggest that lying, stealing, and cheating to benefit oneself is a good thing to be emulated? The contrast Jesus suggested in His description of the “people of this world” and the “people of the light” is instructive. His followers are the children of the light -- literally “sons of,” that is, descendants of, regardless of gender. They belong to the light, are students of the light, are being formed by and becoming like the light, and thus bear resemblance to the light. Assuming that “the Light” refers to Jesus, the “Light of the world,” the implications are legion and call us to meditation and introspection. Jesus’ followers are not children of this age – shaped by the transient and passing culture in which we are all immersed. This suggests the appropriateness of asking, “What is transforming my life and character day by day? Do I bear more resemblance to Jesus or to the world around me? What would those around me say?” The focus of Jesus’ contrast is one’s attitude toward and use of money and material things and how they relate to “true riches” which retain their value after this age when worldly wealth has vanished and one arrives at their “eternal dwelling” in the age to come. Jesus’ point is that the former (worldly wealth) can be transformed into the latter (true and eternal riches) by investing them to “gain friends” who will welcome them into their eternal home. Jesus leaves us to consider how one’s resources can be so used. At risk of doing what Jesus did not choose to do, I would suggest that one way may be investing in the spread of the Gospel in one’s community and around the world. Jesus’ description of the future division of sheep and goats in Matthew 25 suggests another: using one’s resources to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, house the homeless, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and tend to the imprisoned. Identifying Jesus’ authentic followers is not as simple as checking church attendance. Rather two distinguishing characteristics are whether one is becoming more like the counter-cultural Jesus and how one invests their resources to gain eternal friends. Whose kid are you?

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