From: Rich Carlson
Date: February 1, 2021
Subject: It's February 1; Good Morning Union

Luke 16


“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”  Vs 10


Ok, with my commitment to read the 24 chapters of Luke on the 24 days of December in order to see clearly the real reason for Christmas, which I did and am now looking back at my notes as I write GMU in February, I must admit, not every chapter and all the stories have the same insight and blessing to me. This chapter is one of those exceptions. I still struggle with both the stories in Luke 16—“The Shrewd Manager,” and “The Rich Man and Lazarus.” I continue to study, read, pray and search but this one God has not chosen to reveal to me yet. I have an “explanation,” but I don’t have peace!


Probably my best lesson from this chapter is that very fact. I DON’T understand it all, but I still have a level of contentment that keeps me focused on the bigger picture of God’s word and keeps me searching without having to have absolute answers to everything in order to continue putting my faith and trust in God and His word.


The Shrewd Manager” cheated his boss, because he was going to get fired, by modifying the debts owed his master in favor of those who owed the debts so that the debtors would be obliged to like him after he lost his job. I don’t like any of that! Jesus made it clear that the participants in this story were NOT believers or “people of the light,” and that helped some. And His lesson was about the value of being honest no matter what I have so that I can be trusted if God decides to give me more. The other lesson I saw in this story was the importance of not confusing the value of worldly gain with the far greater value of eternal gain.


The second story about a rich man and a poor man with the former seemingly going to hell and the latter seemingly going to heaven, where they talk among themselves!! I’m guessing that Jesus was trying to meet the people where they were so He could teach them lessons for their spiritual growth and development. Many of the Jews believed in a type of conscious state of being between death and the resurrection so Jesus might just have been using their understanding to teach them a lesson about destiny being determined in life and not with punishment after death. That’s my guess because I have found plenty of evidence for my current belief about death as an unconscious sleep, and hell being an event in the future for the total destruction of evil and not an eternal place of punishment. That’s my at-this-point conclusion on this story, but my human side still wishes Jesus could have used a different illustration because this story takes a lot of “explanation” to get around! For me it’s a test of my faithfulness to the message of the WHOLE story without getting too distracted with the pieces I yet do not fully understand. I’m still ok with Him being God and having reasons for some things that are still beyond me.


Have a great day not getting distracted with details to the point of maybe missing the big picture message. Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.


Pastor Rich


Quote for the day:      "At its best, giving is an act of worship." — Cornelius J. Dyck, colonel under the command of Gen. George Washington



PS        Last week was Mission Emphasis Week. Though student mission calls are currently still on hold around the world, calling organizations are working hard with their governments to hopefully be able to open some calls by next fall. If God has been leading you toward being a volunteer next year come to Campus Ministries and speak with Pastor Rich, Claudia Bauermeister, or Nic Lawrence.

PPS      Union College men’s basketball tonight at 7pm. Watch it on line!!