Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hot, Cold, and Lukewarm

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.
His master replied... Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas. ~ Luke 19:10, 20, 24
I've recently learned the importance of ignoring the division headers placed in most Bibles by the editors. Above is an example. I'm familiar with the story of Zacchaeus and the parable of the three servants but I've never looked at the story and the parable together.
One of our home group leaders encourages us to study the gospels in this way. The break does not come until there is a scene change - i.e. Jesus and/or his disciples leave one place to go to another place. When Jesus tells a parable after having an encounter with someone or the crowd, the parable will relate to what has just taken place.
As I put Zacchaeus into this parable, I'm amazed at what I see. To me, Zacchaeus represents a fourth servant. In the parable, we see that the king was pleased with the servants who put the provisions to work. The king is extremely disappointed with the servant who did nothing with the minas. 

We all exist in this life because of God. Now, if you don't believe in God, I challenge you to think about how you or anything in creation got here - even if it was through a "big bang." Assuming you do believe in God and that he created everything, then everything about life is provided by Him (see Psalm 24:1). We are simply stewards even of ourselves.

Zacchaeus did something with his life. It wasn't good but he did something. Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, Zacchaeus didn't use his life wisely but he was active and willing to change direction with the same momentum. 

Jesus came so that we could have an abundant life (John 10:10). That is greatly different than having an abundance of things in life. When I think of people who have had an abundant life, I picture those who have repeatedly given themselves for the benefit of others.

As I ponder a major decision in my life, this passage reminds me to do something, right or wrong, just do something. God can work with my mess ups. He promises that in Romans 8:28. But he will do little with the one who refuses to do anything. He will not force us into action.

God showed me this in real life just this week. My daughter was struggling with homework and she admitted that she is afraid to be wrong. And, it is much harder to do the work when she isn't sure how to do it. So, she would rather give up and not try than to be wrong with school work. (I can relate, can't you!) I explained to her that being wrong is actually helpful because the teachers can help her do better when they can see what she is trying to do. By doing nothing, it is difficult to know how to help her.

Jesus saw in Zacchaeus and two of the servants in the parable the desire to do something with what they had been given. The third servant was either lazy or afraid. Fear and laziness is like taking what God has given and setting it aside, hidden in a piece of cloth. This response amounts to a luke warm existence.

What are you doing with the life God has given you? Are you risking an investment of your life as much as you have risked investing your finances?
Because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. ~ Revelation 3:16-17

1 comment:

mitimom said...

Lisa, this is great insight. It directly relates to some things I'm considering, too, about stepping out in faith with visible action.

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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