Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Here and Now

Last week, I mentioned that Wednesday 7-post series would be no more. I expressed a desire that it would be the first and only casualty of my soon to be less flexible (though not necessarily busier) schedule upcoming my college career. What I said and what I meant were not entirely the same principle.

You see, I had more information about what this particular change meant, and despite all my communication experience, I committed the cardinal sin of forgetting that the audience may not (in this case definitely did not) know the information you do.

This particular change isn't just an end of Wednesday series posts, but a end of Wednesday posts altogether. This post (which will involve substance more than planning shortly) will be the final Wednesday blog post for a long while.

But that is only the half of it. I created Wednesday posts to be a more intellectual, abstract type of Christian teaching in contrast to the simpler, practical-based devotional posts that herald the Friday chain. I am not willing to eliminate these types of discussions.

So there has been a change to Monday posts as well. Instead of heralding a new political post every Monday, I will alternate between politics and Christian ethics.

Ethics is defined by the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, as,
"The field of ethics (or moral philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior."

What I specifically mean by ethics is systematizing, defending, and recommending correct behaviour for Christians here and now in this world. This can include stewardship (as we will briefly discuss today), the purpose of man, whether it is always wrong to lie (I kinda snuck this into a couple of devotional posts. Shhhh...), and how elements of Old Testament law apply to us today.

I hope you will stick with me in the coming weeks as we evaluate these areas of ethics. Of course, some may question with as much as I had been presenting that our focus needs to be on eternity, what exactly are we to be responsible for in this world? (This is my smooth transition into that stewardship discussion I promised you.)

Well, for starters, that indicates that we as Christians have a responsibility and are stewards of lost souls and trying to prepare them for eternity and advance the cause of Christ in eternity.

But that's not the end of the story. Indeed we as Christians are not just called to work with problems of eternity. That is to be our focus, but we are not to turn a blind eye to the problems that exist in our world today.

James 1:27 specifically explains,
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

We are called to care for and visit the sick, poor, and destitute. We have a responsibility to provide for the material and temporal needs of others.

But that of course is not the end of our stewardship obligations. We also must work strongly to care for the environment that has been placed under our care (this doesn't mean we need to stop using the environment altogether).

And of course, I believe that we as Christians have an obligation to be good citizens of our nation, and watch our government to ensure that our freedoms (especially the freedom of religion) are not threatened by the ever-growing governmental bureaucracy.

Let us try our best not to be too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good. After all, we are in this world with specific areas of stewardship available to us. Let us remember well the parable of the talents. 

In this oft-cited parable, we learn of a master who gives talents to his three servants, fully expecting that when he returns to them, they will have increased his possessions. All three knew he was returning and they all were focused upon that fact.

Two of them of course used this knowledge to be good stewards of that which had been presented to them. One decided he would just make sure that he didn't lose his talent. Simply not losing a talent was not enough for this master. He punished the servant greatly for his irresponsibility.

Similarly in our days, we all know that Jesus is returning, but that knowledge and that focus isn't enough to make sure we make the right decisions. We have been given things we need to be stewards of in the current world, and we need not be so concerned with Jesus' return that we don't adequately prepare for it.

That is why we must worry about the stewardship responsibilities that God has placed upon us in the here and now.

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