Friday

08 June 2012

"No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other." (v. 13)

Background

How often do you compromise? I know I do from time to time: if I just call and see this person who I know will welcome me with open arms perhaps I can leave that difficult person down the road for a bit longer before I need to go. This is a simple example from my own life. Of course today's passage is about more than this rather trivial example from a guilty minister: it is about the way in which the smallest dishonest deed can escalate until such acts become almost commonplace.

For example, a person turns up at the photocopier in the office one day to print some private papers; there is a book for registering the copying and a tin for the money. The person concerned finishes the work then searches their pocket for the money, none there, "Oh well," they say, "no one will notice that five pieces of paper have gone, I'll pay next time." The next time comes and this time it is more copies and the same thing happens. Soon such action becomes habitual and the registration book is never even noticed, and the dishonesty has become entrenched.

Self-justification is a trap into which all of us are likely to fall from time to time. and The words under consideration today are, I suspect, intended to draw the reader to reflect on where their responsibility lies, not only in the use of money, but also in relation to the priority given to God and the principles laid down by Jesus.

Whether it be in using the photocopier without payment, or fiddling expenses claims, about a small white lie or a massive whopper to get us out of trouble, all of these are condemned in this passage. Such activities are the things of mammon we are told (verse 13), and the disciple is called to move away from serving the world to serving God, for it is impossible, to serve God and mammon.

To Ponder

Are lies, whether white or otherwise, ever justified? Why?

In what ways have you compromised in your faith in Christ?

Is it possible to serve the world and God? How? Or, for that matter, why?

Bible notes author: The Revd Pat Billsborrow

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