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Arthur Just

Bearing the Cross

“My hair has always been unruly.  I can’t keep it under control for anything.  I guess that’s my cross to bear…”

“My complexion is terrible.  I still break out like I’m a teenager!  It’s the cross I have to bear…”

“I’d love to be able to have a deep, meaningful conversation with my husband, but he’s so private I can barely get a word out of him.  Must be my cross to bear…”

Have you heard statements like these?  I have.  I’m sure I’ve even made such frivolous statements before.  In our society, “bearing one’s cross” has come to mean putting up with something that’s irritating or annoying, as in the examples above.  But what does it really mean?

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Commending Dishonesty?

This past Sunday my family was on vacation and attended a church that follows the one-year lectionary.  The Gospel reading was Luke 16:1-9, the parable of the shrewd (or “dishonest,” depending on translation) manager.  I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve never really followed that one.  That sentence at the end is so bizarre- “ I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”  Um, what?  What in the world is that supposed to mean?  That doesn’t sound like something Jesus would really say, especially as a summary of the parable.  And unlike some of His other parables like the parable of the sower, Jesus doesn’t take His disciples aside and explain things to them privately afterward.  We’re sort of just left to figure it out on our own.  So again, what does it mean?

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