A Trinity of Neglect :: Readers’ Choice

From John: I am thrilled to begin Readers’ Choice this year with a selection from a ministry mentor of mine. Bruce is in my prayers regularly for his health, but I regularly get group texts that he is praying for me, among many other friends. Bruce is certainly one who puts love and faith into action. It is a privilege to know him and be prayed for by him, and by other Park Forum readers as well. Thank you all.

Selected by reader, Bruce, from Louisiana
I love this. It certainly reminds us that loving others requires action not staying in our comfort zone, investing time not hiding our gifts, and doing the right thing not just thinking about it.

Matthew 25.37-40
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

1 Timothy 4.13-15
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

Reflection: A Trinity of Neglect :: Readers’ Choice
Originally posted, January 25, 2019
By John Tillman

Matthew 25 is famous for the sheep and the goats parable. But really, the entire chapter is about people who shirked their responsibilities to themselves, to their master, and to others. The foolish virgins, the wicked servant, and the goats are a trinity of spiritual neglect.

Pray this weekend through the three stories. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you warning signs if you are following the path of one of these neglectful souls.

May we avoid the neglect of The Foolish Virgins…
We need not stumble into extravagant sin to endanger our relationship with you, Lord.

The virgins excluded from the banquet were not lascivious, or lustful. They were not greedy or cruel. They simply were irresponsible and unthoughtful.

May we never fall into the dim thoughtlessness of complacency, and may we regularly refresh ourselves with the oil of your Holy Spirit to brighten our lamps when called on.

May we avoid the lazy apathy of The Wicked Servant…
We need not squander your blessings to use them unworthily, oh Lord.

The servant given one bag of gold didn’t lose it, or gamble it away. He didn’t try to steal it. He just didn’t try to use it. The servant failed to understand, and so do we, that the king wasn’t investing his money with people. He was investing in people with his money. The king expected growth in the servant. Growth of the gold would only be a side effect. He would have found more mercy in the master had he tried and failed, than in failing to even try.

May we dare to step out with whatever seemingly insignificant gift he has given us. You, oh Lord, do not despise small beginnings or small gifts well and truly used in faith.

May we avoid the careless denial of responsibility of the goats…
We need not be ignorant of you, Lord, to miss Heaven. We need only be uninvolved and unconcerned for others.

The goats didn’t actively cause hunger, or thirst, or homelessness, or refugees. They didn’t cause nakedness, or crime, or unjust punishment, or oppression, or sickness. They just didn’t do anything about it. This was enough to show that Christ had no place in their lives and they had no place with Christ in his eternal life.

Dwell with the Holy Spirit this weekend, asking him to enlighten you about areas in which you may be prone to following in the missteps of the virgins, the servant, or the goats.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Morning Psalm
Our iniquities you have set before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance… — Psalm 90.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Judges 16 (Listen – 5:59) 
Acts 20 (Listen – 5:22)

This Weekend’s Readings
Judges 17 (Listen – 1:50), Acts 21 (Listen – 5:55)
Judges 18 (Listen – 4:39), Acts 22 (Listen – 4:26)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift.

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Hope Sees Us :: Editor’s Choice

Luke 19.4, 9
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
…Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…”

Reflection: Hope Sees Us :: Editor’s Choice
By John Tillman

The post quoted below, Hope on a Limb, was originally published on December 5th as a part of our Advent series. It struck a chord and resonated, picking up so much traffic in the remaining twenty-five days of December that it was our most viewed page on our entire website in 2018. Seven more months have passed and it is still keeping ahead of other posts. People are still looking for hope.

The post is about hope and where we place it. But it is also about how Jesus is not the king that our flesh cries out for. Instead, Jesus is the king that our broken and busted souls need.

As much as we do not understand why Jesus chooses to, he still loves us. Our problem is that we don’t like all of the people whom Jesus also loves…

“He gave the gift of his presence, salvation, and peace to Zacchaeus—a traitor, a government thug, and a corporate thief.
He gave a warning parable about an unwanted king, “because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.”
He gave, in his parable, more resources to the already rich, over the objections of the crowd.
Then he ran the rich and powerful out of the Temple in order to give it back to the outcasts, the foreigners, the blind, and the lame.

Jesus is, for some, the unwanted king of the parable. His Advent will frustrate those who wait for earthly adulation and success.

But Jesus is for others, the yearned-for King of Glory. He endlessly supplies those whose hopes rise higher.

What we hope for in Advent is not a political power broker.
What we hope for in Advent is not a market economist.
What we hope for in Advent is not a government regulatory watchdog.
What we hope for in Advent is not a resource of earthly wealth, success, fame, and power.

The king we hope for brings healing.
The king we hope for brings peace.
The king we hope for brings love.

In the season of Advent, we climb out, hopefully, on a limb with Zacchaeus.”

Not just in Advent, but in every season of the year, if we climb out on a limb searching for Jesus, he will come by. Hope sees us out on that limb. He will call us down. And he will make himself at home at our table.

Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.” — Matthew 11.28

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Judges 15 (Listen – 3:13) 
Acts 19 (Listen – 5:47)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift.

Submit a Readers’ Choice
We still have room for your voice. What post made you want to share?

Submit a Readers’ Choice
Let our community hear how your faith has grown. What post challenged your faith?

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