Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

Be faithful with what you have

Should you cheat to get ahead? Jesus tells a story about a man who did -- and got commended for it. This week we'll look at verses related to Jesus' story.

What is one time you cheated someone?

Monday Genesis 31:6-9 (NRSV)
“You know that I have served your father with all my strength; yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father, and given them to me.”

When Abraham and Sarah had a child, God named the child Laughter (Isaac). When Isaac had a son, the son was named Grasper (Jacob). Throughout his life, Jacob grasped for things that belonged to others. Finally he got a father-in-law as wily as he was and spent a couple decades fighting for wealth and wages.

Jacob had a reputation as someone who deceived others to get ahead.

What do you think of people who deceive others for their own gain?
What do you think about it when
you have a chance to deceive others to get ahead?
Does the end justify the means?

Tuesday 1 Corinthians 2:12-15 (NRSV)
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

The Bible says we belong to two kingdoms – the earthly one that everyone senses and God’s heavenly kingdom, which is apprehended only by some. The Bible says God’s kingdom is here now in part and will come in fullness sometime in the future. There is some overlap between the two kingdoms, but for the most part the values of one are not the values of the other.

What similarities do you notice between earth and God’s kingdom?
What differences do you notice?

Wednesday Luke 16:1-8 (NRSV)
Jesus said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.

What do you think is the point of Jesus’ story?
Do you think Jesus is recommending that people be dishonest if it helps them get ahead?

Thursday Luke 16:9 (NRSV)
I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

What do you think Jesus means by this?
How will you apply it?

Friday Luke 16:10 (NRSV)
Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.

What do you think Jesus means by this?
How will you apply it?

Saturday Luke 16:11-12 (NRSV)
If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

What do you think is Jesus’ point?
How well have you been managing your resources so far from your perspective?
How well do you think you been managing your resources so far from God’s perspective?

What are you doing different this week because you follow Jesus?
What would you like help with?