This week’s lectionary texts are focused on making the most of our lives and maximizing our impact for God while we are still alive on this earth. There are different philosophies of life. Some believe they are here to maximize their enjoyment of life’s pleasures (hedonism). Some believe they are here to maximize their personal potential (self-actualization). Still some believe they are here to reach the top of the food-chain so that they can exercise power over others (elitism). Most think their purpose in life is to amass as much wealth as possible so they can spend on whatever money can buy (capitalism). The sad part about of all these worldly philosophies is that Christians adopt many of these philosophies, as though the Bible gives no alternative philosophy of life before death. So, while we are in Rome, we live like the Romans.
This week’s lectionary texts give us four important life principles to live by as believers: (1) promoting and practising God's goodness (Amos 5:6-7); (2) demonstrating God's power and work in and through us (Psalm 90:12-17; (3) using God's Word to expose wrong motives and attitudes; (4) making giving our life's operational mode, not getting.
(1) Amos 5:6-7: We live to do good and promote justice. We don’t live in a social vacuum. Jesus taught us to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are called to promote and practise God's grace and justice in our homes and workplaces while we are here on earth.
(2) Psalm 90:12-17: We are to maximize our remaining days to show forth God’s work and his power. Our lives must be lived to demonstrate God’s power and work in and through us. We don't show people our intellectual and management prowess--we show them God's power and wisdom. God's power is not to be reserved for use on weekends during our holy meetings. We are to release God's power into the often unholy places--the homes, the marketplaces and the community. We are not to put God into our Weekend Activity box to be locked away on Weekdays.
(3) Hebrews 4:12-16: We are to accomplish God’s works using God’s supernatural means, not using our own human wisdom. In particular, we are to use God’s Word and apply it to examine and expose our true motives and attitudes in life. We live out of our spirit, not our soul alone. We allow God’s Spirit acting through His Word to transform us from our innermost being (spirit) to the outer person of soul and body. God’s Word is a double-edged sword—it transforms us by changing our inner attitudes and motives that produce right thoughts and actions.
(4) Mark 10:17-31: Jesus here teaches us that kingdom principle is defined by giving, not getting. So, our lives must first be given to God and then to others. It’s not about getting the most out of this life before leaving for the world beyond to get an even better benefits. It’s about giving first to God and to others. Without the attitude of giving, we will are unlikely to be comfortable with the kingdom of God when it arrives. Grace is not just about getting from God; grace is also about giving to others the grace we have received freely: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8, NKJV).
Father, we surrender our lives to You so that You may establish Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.