Beyond the Manger: December 17, 2015

Matthew 6:24 (NRSV)

24 “No one 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. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Matthew 6:24 (The Voice)

24 No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa. People try to serve both God and money—but you can’t. You must choose one or the other.

ADVENT STUDY GATHERINGS #2: (Everlasting Presence)

Note:  Today is another time of gathering at the church to explore our faith together.  Today our focus is on the Beyond the Manger teaching of Jesus that reminds us that we will never be forsaken.  Join us at 1:00 or at 6:00 for a conversation about our Advent faith.

Devotional Content

Our passage today draws a single focus on one solo verse of Scripture.  It just happens to be a verse that we have known for some time or that we naturally understand in the center of our souls.

Abraham Lincoln articulated a similar principle when said that a “house divided cannot stand.”   His focus was on the unity of our nation.  John Wesley said, “we may not all believe alike, but we can love alike.”  Wesley’s focus was on the unity of the church and our call to love God and neighbor.

But Jesus is not just talking about unity of a group or even unity in our action.  He is addressing an issue of unity that is well known to our hearts during a season that is known for abundance, giving, and generosity.  It has to do with the focus of our life journey.  Do we serve ourselves by ‘building up treasures on earth’ or do we serve the Lord by allowing our undivided attention to fall in His favor?

Thank God, the issue of slavery is behind us but unfortunately, many people still struggle with bondage to possessions that begin to shape our personal identity.  As the people of the Christ Child, we want our core identity to be molded by the image of the Jesus.  We want our identity to be demonstrated through our words and deeds.   We want to be known for the things we stand for.  We want to be identified not for the things we have but for the internal desire to love that becomes evident through our life journey.  We do not want to be divided between our love for God and our desire to be secure.

Today would be a great day to spend some time in prayer.  Ask God to reveal the places in our lives where division exists.  Ask the Child of the manger to show us how to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.  Amen


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