“Which of the two did the will of his father?” Read the passage. Talk is cheap. Saying the right things and giving the right answers come easier than living a life that embodies “not my will, but Yours.” Does my faith show up more in my words than my actions? Let my actions speak for themselves as I live out Your will for my life today and every day. Amen.
“They grumbled saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us…’” “It’s not fair.” I remember my mother hating this parable. Every time she heard it she said, “It’s not fair.” What’s not fair? Equal wages? Equal treatment? Equal love? In what ways do I think God should treat me special? Is all my labor earning me a better grace, a better love, a better reward? Why do I serve and minister as I do? Forgive me for a grumbling heart that seeks special recognition over my brothers and sisters saved by Your grace.
“Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, and be merry.” We live in a consumer culture and we have been formed and forged to be consumers. It is easy for us to produce more, store more, build more, hold more, and expect more than ample. Why does Jesus teach that this misses the point? In what ways am I similar to the rich fool? How does this focus keep me from life and ministry? Teach us Lord what it means to be “rich toward God.”
“But whoever has been forgiven little shows only a little love.” Jesus tells a “tale of two sinners.” One who knows their great debt and finds forgiveness gains a heart of love for others. One who does not acknowledge their own debt seeks no forgiveness and shows little love toward others. If Christian leadership and ministry is ultimately about loving others, who is best fit to minister? How much do I love people? How grateful am I? Reveal the depths of my heart Lord, that I may know Your love and show it to others.
“So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.” God rested. We work. We work at our jobs, our families, our play, our sports, our future, our investments. You name it, we work hard at it. Do you rest? Why is a regular day of rest in the week important and essential for our life? What can you do to set aside a day each week for rest? Loving God, help us to accept your invitation to rest. Amen.
“The God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion…” God, the Almighty and All-Powerful, decides to share his creation project with us. He calls us to help us “rule” all he has made and do so as those made in his image. What are the implications of God’s sharing his rule, for all of us who lead in our families, in our work places, in our churches, and all places? Is it easy for us to share power? Teach us your heart for leading Almighty and Loving God.
“In the beginning…the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said…” God’s act of creation does not settle with making something out of nothing. God speaks with the power to bring form and order to it all and to bring light to the darkness. What does God’s action suggest to us about the purpose of those called to lead in the family, the church, and the world? May our leadership in all spheres follow your heart and your ways O God.
“Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you,’…he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Just a few verses contain a blessing of peace, a commission to ministry, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus. Why is each of these important to the leadership and ministry of the church? What is the relationship between peace, sending, and empowerment? Breathe on us breath of God; fill us with peace, purpose, and power. Amen.
“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures…” The content of Jesus’ opening the scriptures included his suffering, dying, and rising on the third day along with repentance and forgiveness of sin proclaimed in his name to all nations. They were called and empowered to be witnesses to “these things.” In our day and age in the church, what are we looking for in the scriptures? Inspiration for life? Leadership principles? Strategies for growing organizations? What does Jesus want to open our minds to in the scriptures? Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the scriptures. Amen.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever…I will not leave you orphaned: I am coming to you.” Adam and Eve mistakenly believed they needed to care for themselves. They felt orphaned. How important is it for us to recognize our dependency on God’s Spirit and give thanks that we are not left alone? Breathe on us breath of God, fill us with life anew. Amen.