Drummond Hill Newsletter, May 4, 2022
Wednesday Meditation (Luke 16:8,9)
And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
Today’s passage starts with how a manager who defrauded his boss tries to save himself shrewdly. When he knows that his misdeeds were about to get caught, he thinks of the future and schemes a way to save himself. His method was simple. He defrauds his boss by cutting their debts even more. Doing so would endear him to these debtors and later when he comes to them in poverty, these debtors who were feeling grateful would take him in and look after him. The passage looks at how those who have no fear of God–unbelievers–are able to use their smarts to save themselves.
As believers and followers of Christ, how do we save ourselves? What are our smart ways of ensuring that we will be okay in the future? What is our insurance plan? Do we have one other than waiting for Jesus to save us?
The parable of dishonest manager is about Jesus stating, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” (Luke 16:10) If we are able to be faithful in a very little… But what is this little faith to which we are faithful? Is this little faithfulness not about believing that eventually Jesus will save us in our troubles?
Actually, “No!” When Satan tempted him in the wilderness, Jesus told Satan, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” We are not to simply wait for Jesus to save us in our troubles. In our little faith, as we follow Christ, it is our task to worship the Lord our God and serve God only. We are not to serve our needs. We are not to do things that will allay our fears. We are not trying to build a cosy future for ourselves. We are to worship God without ceasing, and serve God. The worldly people will find ways to save themselves. We are to worship and serve God always. Simple enough, but requiring a great deal of determination and perseverance.
Drummond Hill 3.0
In the first paragraph of last week’s newsletter we asked, “How can we be a church full of all ages? Should our church be like the church of the past?”
One reality is that today’s world is different. Our Niagara Falls is filled with both young and old who have no idea what worship is. They attend church for baptisms, christenings, first communion, marriages and funerals, but they are there only for their friends. They do not come to church because they know they need to worship. While they are present at worship, they have no idea what these rituals are all about. Again, they are at our worship services to support their friends who invited them. They may enjoy the service, but it does not mean that they will come back for more.
I bring this point out so that we will not be engaged in simply inviting people to our Sunday worship, thinking that if we invite them and they enjoy the service, they will come back. They are open to attending worship, but they are usually not excited about becoming regular attenders who will participate as we desire them to. They may come regularly for Easter, Christmas, etc, but their way of belonging has changed. Attending weekly is not it.
How, then, do we build a church for the future? Of course, we do not build a church. It is God who builds God’s own church and we only serve according to God’s mission. We are only the stewards who are blessed to worship and serve God here. To be good stewards, we need to know what we are called to care for on God’s behalf in Niagara Falls.
If we follow Jesus’ ministry, we see two things happening: people come to Jesus and Jesus goes to people. As the body of living Christ, we have experienced people coming to join us. Now, it is time for us to take Christ’s good news to those who are beyond our church. Our fear of strangers is real. However, when Jesus sent out his disciples, there were those strangers who welcomed these disciples into their homes. Without going out, we will never be able to find out which strangers will welcome us and participate in God’s mission here.
We know in our little faith where God is. Where God is, life flourishes. When God sends us into the world, God leads us to those who are waiting for God. When we meet them, God blesses them through us. This symbolic going out will be done initially by inviting strangers to join in activities where Christ experienced. These activities are full of Christ love. Those who share in them will begin to experience life as God intended under God’s reign. We will begin slowly as we fashion ways for even the strangers to Christ to participate in God’s mission with glad hearts. We will go to the younger people first before we invite all ages.
But, but…, but….
Sometime ago, I was participating in an event when I had to check something someone said as that person was making a speech. What she said raised many counter points in my mind. So many good things were said, but in my experience, I knew many of those nice thoughts would never come to fruition no matter how enthusiastically she said them.
There are times in our lives, our minds are provoked. We say, “but, but, but…” Last Tuesday, when I heard Carole ended up in the hospital with a very grim diagnosis, my prayer to God started with, “But, but…” I saw and talked with Carole on Palm Sunday. It was a turn of events that made little or no sense. Then, I heard that Andy died on Wednesday as Carole was rallying up a bit. This death news of Andy was followed up with Carole’s.
What can one say in such circumstances? But, but…, but…. What God does is indeed a mystery. How we try to figure out what God has in mind only brings us to the passage, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)
With the news of Carole’s death, God’s immense grace makes a very different sense. Living in the world as best as we can does not necessarily bring us to a life of gentleness and fullness of peace. Sometimes, life is filled with twists and turns, making it impossible for us to see what God was intending for us. These well-meaning “buts” do not amount to much before God’s mystery. Yet, what we are sure of is the love of Christ that is revealed through in the life of those who were faithful.
At best, each of us seeks the Lord. Though Lord’s ways are mysterious and difficult for us to fathom, though we are too weak to love as our Lord loved us through Christ, and though it is difficult for us to witness the ways of our world, in our inability to experience our Lord’s love, we seek him so that the Lord may have mercy on us all.
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord,
that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:6-8)