(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Luke Ch. 12 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv.1-12) The scriptures of this chapter are full of many of the Lord’s teachings, counseling, and warnings. Note that the first passage began with Jesus’ teaching to his disciples, in which Jesus said:
- A reminder to stop hypocrisy: Jesus reminded his disciples to be on guard against the practiced hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Being fake and deceitful are like the cancer to our faith. If we believe we are good at disguising and think people will never find out about it, we are deceiving ourselves!
- A basis to stop hypocrisy: Everything will eventually be revealed before God and nothing will be hidden!
- A reason to stop hypocrisy: Why do we want to disguise ourselves? It is because we care more about what people think of us than God thinks of us! Jesus taught us that it is God, not man, that we should fear. Jesus encouraged us that we are extremely valuable in God’s eyes and that we really should not mask ourselves for the eyes of man!
- A practice to stop hypocrisy: Let the Holy Spirit of Truth work in our hearts such that we would not shy away from acknowledging Jesus, talking about Jesus in front of people and authoritative officers even if we are opposed. When there are more of such exercises, the “truth” of our faith will be revealed!
(vv.13–21) A man approached Jesus and asked Jesus’ help to divide the family inheritance between this man and his brother. Unexpectedly, Jesus said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” There is a Chinese saying that goes “even an honest and upright official will have difficulty resolving a family dispute.”
It was not Jesus’ intention to reject this man’s request. He actually made it a learning moment for this man by pointing out his wrong mentality. Jesus also wanted to tell the crowd there that “a person with a pure heart may resolve a family dispute”. Jesus asked them to “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Not everyone may encounter the need to fight for family inheritance. If we follow the teachings of Jesus to lay up a treasure in the heavens for the purpose of eternity, we will be rich toward God. By doing so, our view for the wealth and possessions on earth will be different! We can learn more about this subject from the next passage.
(vv.22–34) The person in the parable was anxious to build a storehouse for his harvest. Jesus said, “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.” In addition, Jesus said to consider the lilies, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these, and to the grass of the wild, even though it may be withered and be thrown into the oven tomorrow, God so clothes the grass still. Jesus told his disciples to “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.”
God is in charge of everything and cares about us. If we truly see ourselves as the citizens of God’s Kingdom, we will set our minds to the affairs of the Kingdom of God, and for other things that would have worried us, we can actually be released from them!
On the other hand, Jesus said to prepare a never-worn purse, what did his reminder mean to you? How to prepare that? Ask yourself this: What is on top of my mind? What can I deposit into my heavenly account? What have I stored up? Or am I just trying to enjoy my life?
(vv.35–53) Jesus then shifted his focus from talking about how to deal with people’s worries of the world to how to face his coming again, and he told his disciples to do the following:
- Be alert and be prepared: Wait for their master and open the door for the master immediately as soon as the master returns. Because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect him. Hypothetically, if the Lord were to return tomorrow, would you stay lazy and procrastinating as you have been now?
- Be a faithful and visionary servant and distribute food on time: Loyalty is the fundamental requirement of serving God, and having the vision and ability to divide food on time can be seen of the greatest benefit to the Church. Different people will have different needs. Do you know when to say comforting words of encouragement to people and when to correct or rebuke them? When should we assist and support others? When to give out love and care and visit?
- Prepare to face division: When the Lord comes back again, that will be the end of everything, the time for judgement for all. Those who believe in Jesus will live forever, and those who do not believe will be condemned! Knowing how serious is this matter, we can better understand why Jesus mentioned that it will not be a peaceful nor comforting time for everyone, but there will be division!
Have we been neglecting Jesus’ commands such that we spoiled ourselves living an overly relaxed and comfortable life? Let’s continue to learn about Jesus’s teaching…
(vv.54–59) Jesus pointed out that people at that time, “ You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” This could mean that Jesus was before them, but they refused to acknowledge or believe in Jesus. Eventually they would need to face God’s judgement, but they were slow and unwilling to be reconciled. Are we like the hypocrites as Jesus said here? For subjects related to trivial things in our lives, we know how to talk openly, elaboratively, and persuasively. Yet for Jesus’ teachings, commands, are we procrastinating and withdrawing? What about the second coming of the Lord? Aren’t you interested?
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)