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This Week's Focus - brief reflections on upcoming Revised Lectionary Texts as used for daily & weekly, seasonal worship by many Christian denominations.

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     This Week's Focus - Serving One Master

     The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 20)
Click here for link to Luke 16:1-13


Dear Friends,

Here we go again. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Jesus reminds us over and over what our priorities must be. We have been saved by the blood of Christ. His saving grace is a gift outright. Baptism makes us Christians, but only if we live in his love. If we don’t, we’re really not Christians; we’re just baptized pagans… masquerading as Christians. To be a Christian means to follow Christ. It’s as simple as that. We must take up our cross and follow him, knowing that at the very least our faith will cost us time, treasure and convenience… knowing too that down the centuries it has cost countless Christians a steady stream of blood, sweat and tears.

To serve one Master, to carry the cross, means to put down the iPad, the five-iron and the remote. We need not throw them away. But we must understand that all the things the world values are potential distractions. And we must treat them accordingly. Which is why we must know our priorities… loving God and neighbor… rejoicing always in the Lord… building his kingdom… serving the least among us… witnessing Christ’s love in the world. We must develop habits of virtue, reflexes of holiness. We must leave no room for sin, filling our souls from the bottomless fount of God’s grace. We must seal up the avenues of temptation and open our hearts to the countless opportunities for goodness. We must give and forgive: humbly serving one Master… Almighty God, in three divine persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It’s very easy to write that all down, packing it into one paragraph. Living it, packing it into one lifetime is a very different story. That’s where faith comes in. In Christ, we know we always have instant, expert help only a prayer away. The Father who made us, the Son who saved us, the Holy Spirit who inhabits our every cell… God is with us always. His love is never rationed. He has not rigged the game against us. He does not want us to fail. He wants us safely home with him. His advice is simple, direct and effective: In euphoric success, serve the Lord. In confusion, serve the Lord. In disappointment, serve the Lord. In failure after failure, serve the Lord. In despair, serve the Lord. That is the glory of serving our one Master. In God there is no confusion, no disappointment, no failure, no despair.  There is only his love and all the gifts of his love… faith, hope, courage, wisdom, serenity.

Our Master knows our limitations. He knows our potential. He does not demand we produce results. He gives us no quotas for prayer or good works. Our Master loves us unconditionally, in our sins and in our foolishness. We are the Master’s masterpiece, the product of his love. He delights in us, asking only that our lives witness his love, praising the Father, following the Son, answering the Holy Spirit. Praising God is not a divine ego trip. It is practical advice aimed at aligning our lives with our Master’s purpose, steering us towards earthly serenity and eternal happiness. Paul tells us: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” That’s the kind of Master we have. There never was and never will be another… never petty, ever patient, always loving. Thank you, Master. We love you.  

God love you!

Copyright © 2013 David Sellery, All rights reserved.

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