August 25

Luke 16-17

We are in the Christ Stream reading from the New English Translation. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams | Donate

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear Jesus: We thank you that we have you in the Holy Spirit living among us, with us, inside of us. May we be found grateful for this indescribable gift.  Amen.

16 – The first of the reading today is about the shrewd manager. Jesus is not commending the dishonesty, sloppy bookkeeping, nor the laziness about details that got him into this position where his employment is threatened.  He is being commended for his scrapper logic and quick thinking where he is able to recover something to get more payments in to the estate. Before, no one was able or willing enough to pay up.  So the owner is quite happy with this new cash flow. Plus the customers-in-debt are happy with this latest plan too because their bills were cut in half and made feasible.  The moral is that there’s a way to manage resources and money and to work with people in such a way so that all are happy.  There’s also a manifold number of ways to be devious in business wherein at the end of a deal, everyone else is upset. We’d all like to say we’ve never met people like this but we have.  Now translate and amplify this same ethic into the spiritual realm and there is a lesson to be learned from money that affects our eternity.  Jesus is telling us to be sure and be forthright with our dealings and with our assets. Do not let greed creep into our souls or our operations. Neither let there be shadiness in any of our dealings.  Wealth used to build the Kingdom and to touch/bless lives is always wisely invested. Wealth used to merely gain more wealth for the sake of stacking up more assets so we can worship our accomplishments takes us into very duplicitous territory where our soul is gravely jeopardized. In time this will take us to point of no return.  Because no amount of money is enough money – that’s if money is our objective. I.e. be a blessing with you have been entrusted with – nothing different.

-Jesus is quick to respond to the Pharisees criticism from this teaching about money because they taught ‘the Bible’ … [for money!] and they thought no one had them figured out. They were double-minded in most dealings and they were casual about divorcing and remarrying.  Jesus stuck it to them on all these accounts.
-Luke next presents us with the story Jesus told about the Rich Man and Lazarus (the destitute man).  This is a motif in Luke, by the way. Luke wants us to know that things here and things in heaven are completely different. There are contrasting ethics between earth and heaven.  Jesus came to remedy this matter but the truth is that those who are large and in charge and loaded and prideful and powerful and mean and exacting v.s. loving etc. are those who stand a great chance of experiencing the opposite in the next world we find ourselves in.  Luke also is determined to show that the Lord has a heart for the poor.  They must not be treated like stray dogs and kicked to the curb.  For the rich who have one objective: to have a powerful, pleasurable, and cushy life, they better enjoy it now, for THIS life will then be the end of their comfortable living.

17 –  The issue of forgiveness and “rolling with it” v.s. acting as judge at every turn is what’s at play here. Isn’t it amazing when matters collide, runners smack into each other, cars bump in parking lots, ad infinitum, that often both parties storm into arguing firmly convinced that they are in the right -and it’s basically non-negotiable in their minds – on both sides?  ‘Crazy stuff! Stumbling blocks just happen. We don’t live as 7billion hermits. We offend each other, run into each other.   Work with it people.   Jesus cuts in and insists that we be forgiving people. And wow, do we ever have endless opportunities to forgive!  Let’s let forgiveness be our salve in situations. And the matter of the slave serving without demanding being thanked – the teaching is that we are God’s slaves.  We serve and we …. well, we keep serving.  We can’t take a ledger sheet to the Lord at any stage of the game and say, “hey pay up, huh?! Isn’t it time for some serious kick-back-pay? Let’s go old man!” -> No way.  God calls and saves us because of love. We respond and serve because of gratitude. Any other motivation is bad theology that will be exposed. We do not jerk God around with our good works or service to where God OWES us. Never. He will not be controlled by our good works. It’s grace-centered or it’s bad religion. Keep in mind that every cult (is a cult) and it is so because it botches the matter of grace. We are God’s slaves —> and, relax!, we have a benevolent master.

-The grateful leper is Jesus teaching a concept that is merely verified by today’s studies.  Research has proven that people who are in life/death situations who make a vow to God – e.g. “save me, get me out of this mess, etc. and i’ll go to church, return to Temple, serve You, become a nun/priest/missionary…” [research reveals that] 90% do not keep their vows.  Only 10% are naturally grateful and remain so to the end.  Jesus told us this in 28 A.D.  Human ingratitude is nothing new.  How many lepers returned to say thank you? 1 in 10.
-You gotta love Jesus telling them that “the Kingdom of God is in your midst.”  Some translations just say “…it’s in you.”  This is good stuff. We are where God wants to abide!
-The reading today ended with apocalyptic teaching about Christ coming to set up his Kingdom.  There are issues in here about Christ’s Return, the rapture, sufferings and strugglings, preparation for coming calamity – some will be ready and some are oblivious.  The debate about all this has simmered down a bit since the 1960s and 1970s.  But the matter that remains constant through and beyond all arguments is that we need to be about our Father’s business in the mean time.  We must be serving and evangelizing for Jesus.  When all this is happening and who is going and who isn’t going and who all is going to where-all and what signs in the earth and sky mean what … is far from being settled. What we can do is obey our Lord, come what may, while we await His Return.

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