Devotion: Monday, September 23, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 16:10-13 where Jesus says,    

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”


Christians are often accused as being “judgmental” or “narrow-minded.” I’m sure that among the millions of Christian around the world there are a few of those kinds of folks. But we need to remind people that such a view is at odds with the teachings and the practice of the faith itself.  Actually, I think that Christians are, or can be, some of the most kind, merciful, and open-minded people of all, especially when they take the main teachings of the Bible seriously. Narrow-minded or open-minded? It depends on what you mean by the terms. G.K. Chesterton, in his work Orthodoxy,observed something quite compelling. He wrote,

The more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.[1]

I think that gets to the heart of it. There are certain, fundamental things that demand our allegiance “for good things to run wild.” There are certain things that are fundamental to life, and those things are pretty clear in God’s word. Those are things that we honor and that we strive to make a part of our life. Such foundations include, among others, the dignity of every human being as a creation of God and, hopefully, as an eternal child of God through faith; the institution of the family as the foundation to community and to society (e.g., “Honor your father and your mother;” Exodus 20:12); the dignity of work; the loving of neighbor as one loves him/herself; “you cannot serve God and money” (Luke 16:13). Such things call for and even demand allegiance, not equivocation. When fundamental issues are treasured, all kinds of opportunities ensue.

But here’s the thing in God’s word. There is one fundamental truth that encases all others. It is the Gospel, the reconciled relationship that forgiven sinners now have with God because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The rule and order of God’s law in our life can prevent the chaos that our sin tends to engender and even demonstrate our need for solutions better than our best efforts, but it can’t change our hearts. Changed hearts come when repentant sinners put their faith in God’s love and mercy for them in Christ. When hearts are changed, good can truly run wild. When fundamental truths are motivated by hearts transformed by the mercy and grace of God alone, loving God by serving our neighbor in His name becomes an eternal opportunity and a daily task. When it matters and for good to run wild, certain things compel our allegiance and summon our faith into action, for now and forever.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I often think that I know best about the fundamentals of my life. Give me wisdom and courage to take You at Your word in the Bible for, among the competing voices in our world, Yours truly matters most. AMEN.