Daily Devotion for April 30, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
A truly excellent Gospel tune from Elvis Presley.
Prayer for the Morning
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
For our restful sleep at night,or the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks I render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Nor will He forsake His inheritance.
But judgment will return to righteousness,
And all the upright in heart will follow it.
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.
Notes on the Scripture
The term "steward" is not used as it once was. About the only time we hear it in modern English is to refer to a person on an aircraft who brings us food and maybe a pillow. But in the days when society was organized into great estates, the steward was chief operating officer. There would be the lord and his family, who were aristocrats and the owners. They might not do any work at all, as in Europe until just recently. Or, in other times (such as the time of Paul), the owner might be much more occupied with the actual running of the estate.
But the nature of a steward is first, that he is not a lord; he is a servant. But second, he is in charge of everything when the lord is away. He is the person who keeps things running, and he had to be absolutely trustworthy. So when Paul says we are stewards, it means we serve in humility to protect that which we do not own, but keep for another. There have been times and occasions when ministers or bishops seem to be filled with pride, as if they are somehow the lords of God's mysteries. But this behavior is contrary to Paul's teaching here.
A lord, if he ranked high enough, would be the judge of both crimes and lawsuits. In fact, we take the word "court" as we use it today, to refer to a place of justice, from the great hall of a king or mighty lord. When such people would hold court, they would hear petitions and judge criminals.
Paul tells us that, as stewards, we do not have the authority to make judgments. We are servants, not lords, and it is not our place or our power to judge, even when we are acting as Christian ministers. Judgments can only be made by the Lord, and in the analogy he draws here, the ultimate judgment will be made by Christ when he comes again.