I find it difficult, actually impossible to do two tasks simultaneously. I cannot write a sermon while also trying to make phone calls or answer emails. They are separate tasks, separate masters. I have to learn to prioritize and say yes to one master and then let the other things fall into place as a sub-set of my devotion. I have to choose my relationship with God first so that all of the other priorities and task benefit. To elevate any of these above God causes me to serve another master; it is a recipe for failure. The readings this week challenge us to consider how many masters we have and our level of success or failure, fulfilment or frustration we are living into. May God bless these readings and your journey.
Monday: read Mark 3:24-25
Jesus speaks about division and its power to completely undermine the unity of a kingdom or a household. In other words division erodes the base of our existence to the point that we have no solid footing in life. But Jesus recognizes that many of us try to manage the tension by bridging the division. However we serve one master at the expense of the other and vice versa. You end up hating on and loving the other; you divided life collapses. What will it take for you to clearly see that Jesus is the trustworthy master who will not allow our life to collapse?
Tuesday: read Matthew 12:43-45a
One of the reasons we have multiple masters is that we continue to say yes to multiple things. It is hard for many of us to say no, maybe because it is hard or we don’t want to disappointment others who have a need or expectation of us. The unclean spirit represents a master; when we learn to say no the master goes away. But we must learn another lesson; by saying no we are able to say yes. By saying no to an evil master we can say yes to the master of heaven and earth. What is God offering to you today that you should say yes to?
Wednesday: read I Kings 18:21
Elijah called the people to make a definitive decision – either follow God or follow Baal. Maybe part of our struggle is that we try to live in the gray, a mixture between God and our worldly pleasures. The murky waters become our habitat but because we don’t see clearly, we don’t actually get where we are supposed to go in life. Jesus is clear – you cannot serve both masters. Elijah is clear – you have to make a choice. So, will you follow God or will you follow the false promises of the world?
Thursday: read Romans 10:9
Love is jealous. Human relationships tell us this because when one partner feels neglected due to the masters the other partner is trying to serve, jealousy enters the picture. God is a jealous God! This is true because we serve masters, but not the one true Master of all creation. When we serve God, by serving Jesus Christ then all of our other relationships will benefit. They will flourish because our relationship with the one true Master flourishes. What do you need to do today so that your relationship with God in Jesus Christ might become your priority?
Friday: read I Samuel 7:3-4
According to scripture(s) anything we worship other than God is a false god; an idol in our lives. This can really hit home when we realize that our false god or idol also becomes part of our identity. For some of this it can be our job; it becomes our identity. Our address becomes our identity. The brand of clothes, shoes, or accessories becomes our identity. And we worship them, protect them, because to lose them means that we lose our identity. Worship the Lord alone and he will deliver you – maybe the reason we do not have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives is because we worship powerless idols.
Saturday: read Matthew 15:8
Bob Dylan wrote “He not busy being born is busy dying.” A hymn writer said that our hearts are prone to wonder and leave the God I love. All of the sudden our passion for God can become lip service, play acting as we go through the motions. God does not play act when it comes to you and me. God means what God says and does – God loves us and wants the best for us. Jesus doesn’t care specifically about our money – he uses it as an example of how we can wander away from God as our treasure. God treasures you and God desires to be your treasure. What has your heart wandered to as your treasure?