Being Unprofitable Servants

So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’ Luke 17:10 There is a strange paradox in the gospel. On the one hand, we hear of how God cares for us as for the birds of[read more]

Spiritual Leadership

In the United States we are currently (although now it seems most of the time) in a political season. As we attend to those seeking the presidency, we find ourselves once again attempting to appraise who among those seeking office is truly capable of leadership as service to the nation. As we read Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees according to Luke, we can hear a stern warning about the kind of ambition in all of us that would make us poor leaders, and so, by contrast, what makes for a true leader in gospel terms.[read more]

Considering What We Are Doing

Now thus says the Lord of hosts: / Consider your ways!  You have sown much, but have brought in little; / you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; / You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; / have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed; / And whoever earned wages / earned them for[read more]

Vanity and Discouragement

For what profit comes to us from the toil and anxiety of heart with which we have labored under the sun?  All our days sorrow and grief are our occupation; even at night our minds are not at rest.  This also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 2: 22-23 There is perhaps no more “counter-cultural” text in the[read more]

Harmony and Enjoyment

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?  The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own  The Father who dwells in me is doing his[read more]

Becoming the Last of All

The disciples have just been arguing among themselves about who is the greatest. As Mark relates the narrative this occurs just after Jesus has told them that he must be handed over to his enemies, suffer, die, and in three days be raised up. We are told that the disciples do not understand what Jesus is saying, and yet they do not dare to question him about it. If we think about it, this is really not so difficult to understand. The absence of questioning suggests that there is a certain willfulness in the disciples’ not understanding. They do not[read more]

Serving Worthily

“I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others  have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” Luke 21: 3-4 The older I get the more central to the gospel teaching the story of the poor widow[read more]