Timeless truth in a changing world



Nowhere to Hide


I never clean more thoroughly than when the exterminator comes. He’s coming today, and all day yesterday I was preparing for him. I clean closets, vacuum the rooms, clean under the beds, scrub the bathrooms, sweep and steam mop, and pull out the couch to clean underneath it. You’d think I was preparing for royalty.  And all this for a visit that takes less than half an hour.

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One of the things I love about Jesus’ parables is how unbelievable some of them are. He throws in so many unexpected twists and characters that there’s no possible way some of those parables could ever actually happen. A man who sells all he has to get one pearl? Sure. The story of the workers in the vineyard, where the owner pays the guys who worked one hour the same thing he paid the guys who worked 12 hours? Never going to happen in the real world. Imagine pitching, say, “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” as a TV show idea. Um, yeah, we can’t use this. Sorry, but it’s just too far-fetched. This guy’s debt is unrealistic, and there’s no way the king would just cancel it all because he asked him to. And then for him to be such a jerk to his fellow worker regarding his small debt is completely ridiculous. Give us something people can believe. But here’s the thingthis story has happened. And you’re one of the main characters.

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Commending Dishonesty?

I’ve always wondered about the parable of the shrewd (or “dishonest,” depending on translation) manager from Luke 16:1-9.  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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Last week I had a chore day with the kids, and they pitched right in and helped cheerfully, no complaining or whining or anything. Okay, well, maybe a little. Actually, a lot. Oh, who am I kidding? They were anything but happy to help, and from their protests you’d think I was torturing them. I must be the meanest mom in the entire world, because I made them sweep out the garage and the screened in porch and the patio! And then I had the gall to have them vacuum the living room and steam mop the kitchen. Can you think of a crueler thing for a mother to ask of her kids? Now, look, I didn’t expect them to smile and thank me for the chance to help out, but as I observed their behavior as we worked, I came to a sobering realization. Despite my very best efforts otherwise, my children are entitled.

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Forgive and Forget?

Yesterday’s Ash Wednesday service was all about pardon. And let’s face it, we love stories about forgiveness, don’t we? Think about the beautiful accounts of forgiveness in the Bible. Joseph forgiving his brothers for selling him into slavery, God forgiving David after he had committed adultery and murder, Matthew the hated tax collector who became a disciple and went on to write a Gospel account, the thief on the cross who repented in his final hours and was granted eternity with the Lord, Jesus forgiving Peter after he had denied his Lord three times, the dreaded persecutor Saul becoming the staunch apostle Paul… Continue reading “Forgive and Forget?”

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