“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 :: A Guided Prayer
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.
Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. — 2 Corinthians 4.6
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.
Genesis 26 (Listen – 4:31)
Matthew 25 (Listen – 6:04)
This Weekend’s Readings
Genesis 27 (Listen – 6:25) Matthew 26 (Listen – 10:01)
Genesis 28 (Listen – 3:17) Matthew 27 (Listen – 8:45)
Join Our New Facebook Group:
This weekend, in our new Facebook group for email subscribers, we will begin with the first of a series of short live videos discussing some simple, practical tools of spiritual practice using modern technology. Join the group to discuss them with us.
Follow this link to find the group. When you request to join, you will be prompted to answer questions about the email that you have used to subscribe to The Park Forum. Once we check that you are a subscriber, we will approve you to join the group.
Read more about Cultivation Leads to Harvest
We are responsible for the care of our communities, spiritually and physically. This requires a financial and a spiritual harvest.
Read more about Beyond Selfish Thankfulness
We too often, like Jonah, feel responsible that those who have wronged us should not “get away with it.” But in God’s timing, nothing goes unpunished.