Posts filed under 'Generosity'
If you’re a member of the upper class, then good things happen to you. You get to go to the most exclusive schools. You get to meet the most important people. You get to marry someone of equally important status and with similar wealth. You get to live in a nice house, with a high level of security so that you don’t have to spend any time worrying about the riff-raff that lives outside your gate. You get to drive a luxurious car, and you have servants who continually treat you with deference and dignity, respecting your importance. Everyone values what you say…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 18
18:1 After this, I saw another angel who had great authority, coming down from heaven. The earth was lit up by his radiance. 18:2 He shouted with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a home for demons, a headquarters for unclean spirits, and sordid and despicable birds! 18:3 All the nations have drunk the angry wine of her immorality, the kings of the earth have slept with her, and the world’s merchants have grown rich from her extravagant luxury.”
18:4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins, and you will not receive her plagues, 18:5 because her sins have stacked up all the way to heaven, and God is fully aware of her evil actions. 18:6 Do to her what she did to others, and pay her back double for her actions. Mix for her a drink twice as strong as she mixed for others. 18:7 Give her the same amount of torment and grief as she gave herself splendour and luxury. She tells herself, ‘I am a queen, not a widow, and will never experience grief.’
18:8 “So all her troubles will come in one day: death, grief, and famine. She will be burned with fire, because the Lord God who judges her is powerful. 18:9 The kings of the earth, who slept with her and shared her luxury, will weep and wail over her, when they see the smoke of her burning. 18:10 They will stand at a distance because of fear of her agony, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! Your judgment has come in one hour.’
18:11 “The world’s merchants will weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any more, 18:12 merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, perfumed wood, and things made from ivory, precious wood, brass, iron, and marble, 18:13 and cinnamon, incense, perfume, frankincense, wine, olive oil, flour, wheat, sheep, horses, chariots, and people’s bodies and souls. 18:14 The things which you most longed for have been lost to you. Your luxuries and indulgences have vanished from you, and you will find them no more.
18:15 “The merchants who sold these things, and were made rich by her, will stand at a distance because of fear of her agony, weeping and mourning, 18:16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and decorated with gold and precious stones and pearls! 18:17 In an hour such great riches have been ruined.’ Ships’ captains, and passengers, and sailors, and people who make their living from the sea, will stand at a distance, 18:18 and shout out as they watch the smoke of her burning, ‘Is any city like the great city?’ 18:19 They will throw dust on their heads, and shout, while weeping and mourning, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, whose great wealth made everyone who had ships on the sea rich! In one hour she is ruined. 18:20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, believers, apostles, and prophets, because God has given judgment for you against her.'”
18:21 A powerful angel picked up a rock as big as a large millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying, “Babylon, the great city, will be overthrown with this sort of violence, never to be found again. 18:22 The sounds of harpists, musicians, flautists, and trumpeters will never again be heard in you. No tradesman will ever again conduct business in you. The sound of a mill will never again be heard in you. 18:23 The light of a lamp will never again shine in you. The voices of bridegroom and bride will never again be heard in you. Your merchants were the celebrities of the world, and all the nations were taken in by your magic. 18:24 The blood of prophets and believers, and everyone who has been murdered on the earth, has been found in you.”
June 13th, 2007
Depending on how you define them, there are somewhere between 5000 and 10,000 different languages used by humans on earth. Some of these have hundreds of millions of speakers, and some have only a few hundred. English language speakers tend to assume that virtually everybody speaks English, but English may only be the fifth most popular language, with well under 10% of the world’s population being native speakers. How does this affect us now? It means that if you want to enjoy spending eternity with all sorts of different kinds of people, you need to start practising now…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 7
7:1 After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. 7:2 I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, carrying the seal of the living God. He shouted with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given the task of wrecking the earth and the sea, 7:3 “Don’t harm the earth, or the sea, or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads!” 7:4 I heard the number of people who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from every tribe of the people of Israel: 7:5 twelve thousand from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand from of the tribe of Gad, 7:6 twelve thousand from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand from the tribe of Manasseh 7:7 twelve thousand from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand from the tribe of Issachar 7:8 twelve thousand from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand from the tribe of Joseph, and twelve thousand from the tribe of Benjamin.
7:9 After this I looked, and there was an enormous crowd of people, too many for anyone to count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. 7:10 They shouted with a loud voice, “Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb!”
7:11 All the angels were standing around the throne, and around the leaders, and the four living animals. They fell on their faces in front of the throne, and worshipped God, 7:12 saying, “Amen! Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanks, honour, power, and strength, be to our God forevermore! Amen.”
7:13 One of the leaders spoke to me, “Who are these people dressed in white robes, and from where did they come?” 7:14 I said, “Sir, you must know.” He said, “These are the people who came through the great persecution. They washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb’s blood. 7:15 So they are in front of the throne of God, serving him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. 7:16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty. The sun will not beat down on them, and they will no longer suffer any heat, 7:17 because the Lamb in the centre of the throne shepherds them, and leads them to springs of life-giving water. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
June 2nd, 2007
In the mid 1990s when I visited Zimbabwe, it was one of the more prosperous countries in Africa. Zimbabwe is now one of the poorest countries in the world. Life expectancy at birth is 37 years for men and 34 years for women, the lowest figures for any country in the world. Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world, with the expected rate for 2007 being over 4000%. When President Robert Mugabe was first elected to govern, he may have intended to do what was best for the country of Zimbabwe. However, when his focus became clearly fixed on doing what was best for Robert Mugabe, the well-being of the country was totally destroyed…
John’s Third Letter
1:1 From the leader to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in truth.
1:2 Dear friend, I pray that you will prosper in everything and be healthy, in the same way that your soul is thriving. 1:3 I was delighted when some fellow believers came and told me about how you are living in the truth. 1:4 Nothing makes me happier than hearing about my children living in the truth.
1:5 Dear friend, you are faithful in helping the believers even when they are strangers. 1:6 They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner which pleases God, 1:7 because they have set out on their journey in the name of the Lord, accepting no assistance from unbelievers. 1:8 We should support people like them, and work together with them for the truth.
1:9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to put himself first, does not accept what we say. 1:10 If I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, saying unhelpful things about us. Not stopping with this, he refuses to welcome fellow believers, and prevents people who want to do so and throws them out of the church. 1:11 Dear friend, follow good examples, not bad ones. Someone who does good things belongs to God. Someone who does evil has not seen God. 1:12 Everyone speaks favourably of Demetrius, even the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that what we say is true.
1:13 I had many things to write to you, but I do not want to write to you with ink and pen. 1:14 I hope to see you soon, and we will speak face to face. 1:14 Peace to you. Your friends send you their greetings. Please pass our personal greetings on to our friends.
May 25th, 2007
There was a time when I thought I knew what love was. I thought it was the chemical and physical reaction which caused you to like some people. I thought it was a sort of social contract in which I agree to like you in exchange for you agreeing to like me. I say nice things to you and you say nice things to me. I help you out and you help me out. I buy you birthday presents and you buy me birthday presents. According to my understanding, love was something that got awarded to cool people and taken away from misfits and social outcasts. Then I discovered another, unexpected, type of love which completely changed my worldview…
John’s First Letter — Chapter 4
4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have emerged in the world. 4:2 This is how you can identify the Spirit of God: every spirit who acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God, 4:3 and every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist. You have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4:4 You belong to God, children, and have defeated them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 4:5 They belong to the world, so they talk about the world, and the world listens to them. 4:6 We belong to God. Someone who knows God listens to us. Someone who does not belong to God does not listen to us. This is how we identify the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
4:7 Dear friends, we must love each other, because love comes from God, and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. 4:8 Someone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 4:9 God demonstrated his love for us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 4:10 Real love is not about us loving God, but him loving us. He sent his Son as the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 4:11 Dear friends, if God loved us so much, we must also love each other. 4:12 No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love becomes complete in us.
4:13 We know that we live in him and he lives in us, because he has given us his Spirit. 4:14 We have seen and can tell you that the Father sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 4:15 God lives in people who acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 4:16 We know and trust the love which God has for us. God is love, and people who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 4:17 Love has become complete amongst us, so that we can be confident on the judgment day, because we are like him in this world. 4:18 There is no fear in love. Perfect love removes fear, because fear is associated with punishment, and someone who fears has not experienced complete love. 4:19 We love him because he first loved us. 4:20 If people say, “I love God,” but hate a brother or sister, they are liars, because people who do not love their brothers and sisters whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 4:21 We have this commandment from him: people who love God must also love their brothers and sisters.
May 22nd, 2007
The other day I read an interesting piece of advice on that source of all wisdom, the Internet. The advice was, “Never borrow to invest in a depreciating asset.” The idea was that it’s OK to borrow money to buy a house, which increases in value, but it’s not a good idea to borrow to buy something like a car, which decreases in value. The increase in value of the house helps to offset the money which you have to pay in interest on the loan, but the decrease in value of the car only adds to the losses which you suffer through having to pay interest on the loan. It’s just not a good idea to invest all of your efforts in something which is about to disappear…
John’s First Letter — Chapter 2
2:1 My children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. If anyone does sin, we have someone who speaks to the Father on our behalf, Jesus Christ, the righteous one. 2:2 He is the sacrifice that takes away our sins, and not just ours, but also the sins of the whole world. 2:3 We can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 2:4 Someone who claims, “I know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, not speaking the truth. 2:5 People who obey his word truly have God’s love made complete in them. By this we know that we belong to him. 2:6 Whoever claims to belong to him must live like he lived.
2:7 Friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; it is an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the message which you heard. 2:8 Yet, I am writing a new commandment for you, which is true in him and is true in you, because the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. 2:9 Someone who claims to be in the light but hates a fellow believer, is still in the darkness. 2:10 Someone who loves a fellow believer remains in the light, and does not make anyone stumble. 2:11 But someone who hates a fellow believer is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, not knowing where to, because the darkness has caused blindness.
2:12 I write to you, children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 2:13 I write to you, fathers, because you know the one who has been there from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have defeated the evil one. I wrote to you, children, because you know the Father. 2:14 I wrote to you, fathers, because you know the one who has been there from the beginning. I wrote to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have defeated the evil one.
2:15 Do not love the world, or things in the world. The Father’s love is not in anyone who loves the world. 2:16 Everything that is in the world, sinful cravings, the desires of the eyes, and pride over life’s achievements, belongs not to the Father, but to the world. 2:17 The world is disappearing with its desires, but someone who obeys God’s will remains forever.
2:18 Children, these are the end times. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and many antichrists have now come. This is how we know that it is the final hour. 2:19 They left our churches, but they did not belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have stayed with us. But they left, revealing that none of them belong to us. 2:20 The Holy One has anointed you, and you all have knowledge. 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is true. 2:22 Who is the liar? It is the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. This is the Antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son. 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not belong to the Father. Whoever confesses the Son belongs to the Father also.
2:24 Make sure that what you heard from the beginning stays with you. If what you heard from the beginning stays with you, you also will stay with the Son, and with the Father. 2:25 This is the promise which he gave us, eternal life. 2:26 I have written these things to you about people who want to lead you astray. 2:27 But the anointing which you received from Christ remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you, because his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, not a lie. Just as it has taught you, remain in him. 2:28 Now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears, we can be confident rather than embarrassed in his presence. 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who lives righteously is one of his children.
May 20th, 2007
Although you might not feel it, the whole of your life is an experience of running out of money. You have a limited number of days left. You have a limited amount of energy. You have a limited amount of resources. The question is, what are you doing with them? You might be accumulating wealth as if it was worth something, when you know that its value disappears completely the instant you die. You might be using sharp business practices to help yourself at other people’s expense. You might be living indulgently and luxuriously. If that’s what you’re doing with your life, then James’s warning is that it’s time to weep and lament, because troubles are coming…
The Letter from James — Chapter 5
5:1 Wealthy people, weep and lament because of the troubles that are coming for you. 5:2 Your wealth has decayed and your clothes are moth-eaten. 5:3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and consume your flesh like fire. You have accumulated wealth in the last days. 5:4 Look, the wages which you stole from the labourers who harvested your fields cry out, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5:5 You have lived your time on earth indulgently and luxuriously. You have fattened your hearts ready for the day of slaughter. 5:6 You have condemned and murdered innocent people who did not resist you.
5:7 Friends, be patient until the Lord returns. A farmer waits for the valuable crop from the earth, and is patient until it has received the early and late rains. 5:8 You must also be patient. Fortify your hearts, because the Lord’s return is imminent.
5:9 Do not grumble about each other, friends, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door. 5:10 The prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord are an example for you of suffering and patience. 5:11 We consider those who persevered to be blessed. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen what the Lord did in the end, and how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 5:12 Most importantly, friends, do not make an oath, either by heaven, or by the earth, or by anything else. Let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no,” so that you do not get condemned.
5:13 Do any of you have problems? They should pray. Are any happy? They should sing praises. 5:14 Are any of you sick? They should ask the elders of the church to come and pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord, 5:15 and the prayer of faith will heal the sick people. The Lord will restore them, and if they have committed sins they will be forgiven. 5:16 Confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other, to be healed. Prayers of righteous people are strong and effective. 5:17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 5:18 He prayed again, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
5:19 Friends, if any of you strays from the truth, and is brought back by someone, 5:20 understand that the person who brings back a sinner from the wrong way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.
May 10th, 2007
You could say that most businesses are prejudiced against poor people. Anyone who wants to know about a business is usually welcome to come in and have a look, but only people who can afford to pay the fees and prices are allowed to become clients and customers. That’s the way a money-making enterprise works. In most businesses it’s not too difficult to turn someone away, because in most cases nobody actually needs the goods or services on offer in order to survive. But a bigger moral issue arises when people try to apply business principles in a church. A church is not a money-making enterprise…
The Letter from James — Chapter 2
2:1 Friends, how can you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ while showing prejudice towards people? 2:2 Imagine someone comes into your synagogue wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person in worn-out clothing also comes in. 2:3 If you pay special attention to the person who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good seat,” and you tell the poor person, “Stand there,” or “Sit on the ground,” 2:4 have you not shown prejudice, and exercised judgement with improper motives? 2:5 Listen, my dear friends. Did not God choose people who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? 2:6 But you have dishonoured poor people. Do not rich people oppress you, and drag you before the courts? 2:7 Do not they insult the good name of your Lord? 2:8 You do well if you fulfil the royal law according to Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 2:9 But you are sinning if you show prejudice, and the law condemns you as wrongdoers. 2:10 Whoever keeps the whole law apart from stumbling in one point, has become guilty of breaking it all. 2:11 The one who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” If you avoid adultery, but commit murder, you have become a breaker of the law. 2:12 Speak and act as people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom. 2:13 Judgment without mercy applies to someone who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
2:14 Friends, what use is it if you claim to have faith, but do not do anything? Can that faith save you? 2:15 If a brother or sister has no clothes or food, 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warm and well fed,” and yet you did not give them the things they need, what use is it? 2:17 Faith by itself without action is dead. 2:18 Someone might say, “You have faith, and I have actions.” Show me your faith without actions, and by my actions I will show you my faith.
2:19 You believe in the one God? Fine. The demons also believe and tremble. 2:20 Are you willing to learn, foolish person, that faith without action is dead? 2:21 Was not Abraham our ancestor justified by what he did, by offering up Isaac his son on the altar? 2:22 You see that his faith and his actions worked together, and his faith was completed by his actions. 2:23 This fulfilled the scripture which says, “Abraham believed God, that was regarded as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 2:24 So you can see that people are justified by what they do, and not just by their faith. 2:25 Similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by what she did, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way? 2:26 Just as the body is dead without the spirit, faith is dead without actions.
May 7th, 2007
If you want to sell things to people, you can use TV advertisements and billboards to market your products. You can use bright graphics and catchy jingles. You can make sure that people see an advertisement for your product wherever they turn. You can even use those horrible animated banner ads on the internet. Getting people to buy stuff is just a matter of getting sufficient exposure and creating a context in which your products have sufficient credibility for people to want to try them. But if you want to help people radically reinvent their lives, you have to get a bit more personal than that…
The Letter to the Hebrews — Chapter 2
2:1 We need to pay more attention to the things we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2:2 If the message spoken by the angels was reliable, and every offence and act of disobedience gets what it deserves, 2:3 how can we escape if we disregard this salvation which is so important? Originally it was announced by the Lord. It was confirmed to us by those who heard, 2:4 and God also confirmed it by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his will. 2:5 He did not place the future world, about which we are speaking, under the control of angels. 2:6 Someone has said this somewhere: “What are humans, that you should think of them, or the children of humans, that you should care about them? 2:7 You made them a little lower than the angels. You crowned them with glory and honour. 2:8 You have put everything under their control.” In putting everything under their control, he left nothing outside their control. We do not yet see everything under their control, 2:9 but we see Jesus, who was briefly made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he tasted death for everyone.
2:10 All things belong to God, and all things exist through him, so it was appropriate for God, while bringing many children to glory, to make the originator of their salvation perfect through suffering. 2:11 Both the one who makes people holy and the people who are made holy belong to the same Father, which is why Jesus is not embarrassed to call them brothers and sisters, 2:12 saying, “I will tell your name to my brothers. I will sing your praise in the presence of the church.” 2:13 Again, “I will put my trust in him.” Again, “Here I am with the children God has given me.”
2:14 Because God’s children have flesh and blood, he also became flesh and blood, so that through death he could destroy the one who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 2:15 and rescue everyone who lived their whole lives as slaves to the fear of death. 2:16 His help is not for angels; it is for the descendants of Abraham. 2:17 He had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest of God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 2:18 He is able to help people who are tempted because he suffered and was tempted.
April 24th, 2007
There’s a book entitled, “God wants you to be rich”. It’s a good catchy title guaranteed to sell lots of copies and it does have some seeds of truth in it. God wants you to be rich in good deeds. God wants you to be rich in serving people who are needy. God wants you to be rich in generosity towards the poor. The problem is that God isn’t hugely interested in just increasing your bank balance so you can spend it on yourself. The message of Jesus is about loving God and serving other people, particularly those who are in great need. It’s not about obeying some set formula of rules.
Paul’s First Letter to Timothy — Chapter 6
6:1 All who are slaves should treat their masters as being worthy of respect, so that the name of God and our teaching will not be discredited. 6:2 Slaves who have masters who are believers should not disrespect them because they are believers. Instead, they should serve them, because those who benefit are believing and beloved. Teach these things and encourage people to do them.
6:3 If anyone teaches something different and disagrees with the wise message of our Lord Jesus Christ and godly teaching, 6:4 that person is arrogant and understands nothing, but is obsessed with controversies, and arguments about words, which cause jealousy, strife, abuse, evil suspicions, 6:5 and constant animosity of people with twisted minds who have lost sight of the truth, thinking that godliness is a way to get rich.
6:6 Godliness does indeed enrich your life with contentment. 6:7 We brought nothing into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything out. 6:8 But we can be content with the food and clothing that we have. 6:9 People who are determined to be rich fall into temptations and traps and many foolish and harmful desires which cause people to sink into ruin and destruction. 6:10 The love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. Some people have wandered away from the faith in their greed, and have caused themselves all kinds of problems.
6:11 You, man of God, must run away from these things, and strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith. Seize the eternal life to which you were called, and for which you made the good confession of faith in front of many witnesses. 6:13 In the presence of God, who gives life to everything, and in the presence of Christ Jesus, who made the good confession while testifying before Pontius Pilate, I call on you 6:14 to obey what you have been told to do without any taint or impurity, until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 6:15 When the time is right, God will show him, God who is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 6:16 He alone has immortality, living in unapproachable light. No human has seen him, or can see him. To him be honour and eternal power. Amen.
6:17 Tell people who are rich in this present world not to be patronising, or fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. They must fix their hope on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 6:18 Tell them to do what is right, to be rich in good works, to be ready to share and generous. 6:19 This is how they can invest their treasure to provide a good foundation for the future, so that they can get a grip on life that really is life.
6:20 Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care. Avoid the empty and godless talk and the contradictory assertions of pseudo-knowledge, 6:21 which some people have believed and by so doing have missed the mark concerning the faith. Grace be with you.
April 14th, 2007
Once you’ve been around for a while and worked in or been a member of a number of different organisations, you start to realise that most organisations are managed very poorly. The statistics say that only about 20% of people in the US say that they believe their abilities are being well used in their employment, and the figure is much lower in Australia. In nearly every workplace you find people staring out the window, watching the clock, and surfing the internet when they’re supposed to be working. Inefficiencies, poor service, and a lack of caring are everywhere.
Paul’s First Letter to Timothy — Chapter 5
5:1 Do not rebuke an older man. Encourage him like a father. Encourage younger men like brothers, 5:2 elder women like mothers, and younger women like sisters, with purity. 5:3 Honour widows who really are widows. 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, those children should first learn to show godliness towards their own family, and repay their obligation to their parents, because this is what God wants. 5:5 The real widow has been left alone, and her only hope is in God, so she keeps praying and asking God for help day and night. 5:6 But the self-indulgent widow is living a dead life. 5:7 Tell people to do these things, so that they will act properly. 5:8 People who do not fulfil their responsibilities, especially to their own family, have denied the faith, and are worse than unbelievers. 5:9 A widow can be enrolled on the list if she is over sixty years of age, has been the wife of one man, 5:10 has demonstrated a commitment to doing good deeds such as raising children, showing hospitality to strangers, serving the believers, helping people who are in trouble, and getting involved in all kinds of good works.
5:11 Younger widows should be refused enrolment, because their physical desires will outweigh their commitment to Christ, and they will want to get married, 5:12 making them guilty, because they have broken their promise. 5:13 Furthermore, they learn to be lazy, going about from house to house. As well as being lazy, they become gossips and meddlers, saying things which they should not. 5:14 I would like the younger widows to get married, have children, look after the house, so that the enemy has no opportunity for finding fault. 5:15 Some have already turned away to follow Satan. 5:16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should look after them. Avoid burdening the church, so that it can look after those who really are widows.
5:17 Leaders who lead well should be considered deserving of double honour, especially those who work at preaching and teaching. 5:18 The Scripture says, “You must not muzzle the ox while it is threshing grain.” And, “The worker deserves to be paid.”
5:19 Do not listen to an accusation made against a leader, unless supported by two or three witnesses. 5:20 People who sin should be corrected in front of everybody, as a warning to everyone else. 5:21 I call on you in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the chosen angels, to follow these instructions without any bias. Show no favouritism. 5:22 Do not be too quick to lay hands on anyone to appoint them to a position of authority, and do not be a participant in other people’s sins. Keep yourself pure. 5:23 Do not just drink water. Use a little wine to help your stomach and treat your frequent sickness.
5:24 Some people’s sins are obvious, going before them to judgment, and some people’s sins follow them. 5:25 Similarly, good works are obvious, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
April 13th, 2007