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Joshua 7:16-9:2
In reading about Achan in the seventh chapter I’m struck by how much his plight illustrates the Words Jesus spoke in Matthew 16:26,

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

Achan became caught up in the “Lust of the eyes” and the deceitfulness of that sin elevated the value of gold in his eyesight above the worth of God who created and placed the gold in the earth. That deception bore such horrendous fruit that his entire family was wiped out because of his “little” sin. So too are our sins not hidden no matter how far “undercover” we go. What is done in the dark will be brought out to the light. (Luke 12:3)
Luke 16:1-18
In Geometry there is a theorem or proof, I forget which, that says, “The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.” We can study the whole of the Bible and miss the parts that make up the whole, or we can concentrate on the parts and miss the whole. It is my desire for each and everyone who enters this Blog’s portal to learn to walk in balance between the two views, the parts and the whole, also know as “The Big Picture.”

Stating this I will continue to explore the entire chapter from a perspective that first came to me one-year ago while reading this chapter. First I saw the entire sixteenth chapter as parts to a whole having the same theme, an overarching lesson with individual lessons within the whole.

I believe that verses one through fourteen, sixteen through eighteen, and nineteen through the end of the chapter are all speaking about the same thing, rightly handling the Word of God and valuing it over every earthly thing.

The rich man employed the “Shrewd Manager”, but who was this rich man. Understanding that Jesus used Parables to explain the Kingdom of God to those who had ears to hear, I have positioned this man in my mind as God. The manager, and those he represents, is a “shepherd” over a flock or flocks of “sheep.” Today we have ministers of the Gospel over small to to large mega churches and Para-churches. In those days there were the religious hierarchy stationed in Jerusalem governing the daily activities of Synagogues in the cities, towns and villages where there were at least ten practicing Jews, from Asia to Africa and Europe.

If God is the “rich man” then the possessions the manager handled would have to be the “rich man’s” Word, His most valuable property. The manager is said to have invited everyone who owed His master to come and discuss the situation after finding out he was to be fired. The religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus because they knew He was about to take their jobs from them. Jobs they were not doing according to the procedures the “rich man” had instituted. The manager’s invitation was not to a party but to a discussion to talk about what each owed to his employer and to play, “Let’s Make a Deal.” (That was an old TV game show. Forgive my dated reference).

What were these people dealing in, oil, olive oil to be precise and wheat. Now sometimes what something is, is what it really is, but I began thinking that this oil and wheat is a figurative representation. Olive oil represents the anointing oil that was poured out on the top of Aaron’s head flowing down onto his beard to the hem of his garment when he was consecrated into the priesthood. Also win the Olive grove, Gethsemane, which means olive press in Hebrew, where Jesus struggled under the burden of going to the cross so much that his sweat was like great drops of blood, so this "Oil" is precious.

It was about this “anointing” this precious oil that flowed from crushed olives that the debtors and the about to be fired manager bargained over. And the wheat, what does the wheat represent? Wheat is used to make bread, and bread represents the Word of God, the Manna that fell from heaven to feed the nation of Israel as they wondered in the desert for forty years. They sat down to discount the very source of life.

As I looked at this chapter in this perspective, verses eight through ten that had baffled me in the past began to become clearer in my understanding. If I don’t handle the small matters with integrity, the things of this world, then the greater responsibility of understanding and handling rightly, the Word of God, will always be out of my grasp.

In the entire chapter amongst the other great messages and parables are teachings on the value of the Word, the Law and the Prophets.
Psalm 82:1-8

After my lengthy discourse on Luke 16, I’m struck again by the similitude of the messages in two different books written by two different writes hundreds of years apart.

1God presides over heaven's court; he pronounces judgment on the judges:
2"How long will you judges hand down unjust decisions? How long will you shower special favors on the wicked?

The judges can only had down just decisions if they use the just Laws given by a just God to Moses. Like the “Shrewd Manager” in Luke sixteen, they have mishandled the precious Word of God.

Proverbs 13:2-3

Our words create our worlds. Don’t like the world your living in, change your conversation.

2 Good people enjoy the positive results of their words, but those who are treacherous crave violence. 3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life; a quick retort can ruin everything.

Mike,

I have come to have great affection for you and I'm not sure if this is a motherly concern, I hope not, but my desire for you is that you become the man God has created and ordained you to be, fulfilling fully the purpose He has created and called you too. So I kind of cringed when I read this,

>>So, I've been thinking about this a bit more lately. And I wondered what it would be like if I went through my days consciously trying to make other people happy. >>

Can we really make people happy? According to the Apostle Paul, our state of mind and happiness is a condition of the will, it is a choice, just read Paul's letter to the Book of Philippians, especially the fourth chapter

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

God didn't promise us "happy," however, he did promise us "joy." Happiness, I believe, is always based on circumstances; conversely, joy is based on one knowing the final outcome of a thing; and Jesus did say to us be of good cheer for I have overcome the World (John 16:33). If we are in Christ, as Paul has stated, we are over comers. The writer of Hebrews states Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (12:2). I'm sure Jesus was not happy going to the cross but he knew what his pain and suffering would bring to the men and women He created.


Being a blessing to others is not a bad thing because we are blessed to be a blessing, but taking up a mandate to make others happy will cause you to fall into a bottomless pit. Truthfully, there are a lot of people who have willed themselves to be unhappy, and you may also find yourself casting your pearls before swine: giving to people who God has not told you to give to out of the storehouse from which God has so richly blessed you.

So my prayer for you becomes one of asking God to show you who you are to bless. After all Jesus only did what He saw His Father do (John 5:19). Jesus did not operate out of needs. If that were the case we wouldn't be living in a world were people are starving. When Jesus fed the multitudes he didn't create a feeding program He fed them because they had been with Him a long time listening to him teach. When we get to the Book of Acts we will read about a man who was placed daily at the gate of the Temple for a long time, yet Jesus did not heal that man when we walked through those gates the week before His death, why?

I guess in short what I'm trying to say is check why you want to make people happy; pray that God will direct you to the people who He wants you to bless, and don't live your life based on other people's testimony and experiences because then you will get what they got, maybe. When we desire to have or to do what other people have done or get what others have gotten, we don't have all the facts. We may not want to go through what they did to get what they have. God made you an original, find out what that is for you, and don't become a copy.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Wow!

I totally agree with the Proverb today. I do find people who keep talking annoying. The quote from Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, also helps me to control my tongue, “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”

Ecclesiastics 5:2 let your words be few

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