Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dishonest Scales

The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight. (Pro 11:1)

This is one of those verses that seem so foreign to us culturally. In Biblical times, every merchant would have a scale and a set of weights for measuring the goods exchanged. A dishonest merchant would keep two sets of weights – lighter ones for weighing his product and heavier ones for weighing your payment. This must have been a common scam because it is condemned many times in the Bible. In our day, everything comes prepackaged at the store and we pay whatever is rung up on the cash register. So in one sense this verse no longer seems to apply to us. But the sins of dishonesty and selfishness are still with us.

As I reflect on how this verse may yet apply to my life, I realize that I do indeed keep two sets of weights. With one I weigh what others do for me and with the other I weigh what I do for others. Like the dishonest merchant, I overvalue what I do to serve others and undervalue what others do to serve me. I am quick to be put out when others ask for my help and slow to show gratitude for the help I receive. Lord, forgive me for my selfishness, which I compound by my dishonesty and ingratitude. By your Incarnation and your death on the cross you gave us the supreme example of servanthood. Convict me when I fail to follow in your footsteps. Amen.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Soldiers of Christ

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 2:3)

Young people seek adventure and will endure hardship for the thrill of a great experience. But somehow as we get older we become more concerned with our ease and comfort. When Paul writes this admonition to Timothy, Paul is old and in prison, enduring hardship for the sake of Christ. Timothy is young and living an adventurous life as an itinerant evangelist and church planter. Paul reminds Timothy that we are soldiers of Christ. Soldiers endure great hardship, but always for the sake of others. When the thrill is gone, when the path ahead leads to danger, the soldier endures and presses forward, because he has given his life to a cause greater than himself. When I let myself become absorbed in the pursuit of ease and comfort, I am devoting myself to a shallow and selfish cause. Jesus poured himself out for us, and Paul followed faithfully his example. I must do the same.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Detestable Things

Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, “Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!” (Jer 44:4)

Sometimes I imagine that God delivered his commandments with a sort of clinical detachment. “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal. Let’s see, now where was I? Oh, yes! Do not bear false witness, do not covet.” Not at all! These commandments must have been delivered in a thunderous voice. God hates these things. They are an affront to his very nature. To him they are detestable, and so they should be to me as well. I must look long into his face, meditating on his nature and character, until all sin is detestable to me as well – until my sin is detestable to me. Lord, I want to be like you – to love what you love and hate what you hate. You are good and true and righteous. I love you for who you are. Train me in truth and righteousness, to be pleasing in your sight. Amen.