January 15, 2007
Meditation Commentary on Luke 16:1-4
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of they stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
God’s people have the motivation, over and above all others, to thrive and abound in what they have been given. This earth and everything in it is God’s personal creation, his masterpiece, and so all the universe is imbued with a value it could not otherwise have. The only lasting meaning a life can possess comes from God. Any individual who jettisons a belief in God has jettisoned the foundation of life, and as such he will watch all things crumble around him. For if there is no Creator who carefully crafted the Universe, where then did we come from? We may very well be atoms bouncing around by chance in an infinite cosmos, on an infinite timeline; perhaps, given a few eons more, the Sun will have exploded, taking our cozy Solar System with it, not to mention the human race itself. Someday, at least, we may be assured that the world as we know it must physically disintegrate. What then is the use of creating fine poetry, art or music? What is the use of creating a viable economic system, of ending world hunger, of finding a cure for cancer or AIDS or Alzheimer’s? None of these things will last. It is all random, oscillating atoms. And all our efforts will, in the face of eons of time, do effectively nothing. No one can stop the inexorable march of the Universe.
That is a picture of a world without God: endless, strange and meaningless. It is not always, or perhaps rarely, worked out in people’s minds to these full ramifications, because no one can survive if they believe such a frightening reality. It is a suicidal belief system, terrifying and unlivable. It is a lie that kills.
But the lie often does not seem to be fully understood. People still strive to “better the world;” they create works of art and symphonies; they make discoveries and inventions. They have either forgotten or have not quite realized that the end of their worldview says that everything they do, whether it is initiating world peace or sculpting clay, is worthless.
It is the Christians, though, who know otherwise. They know that there is more to life than meets the eye. They can appreciate the beauty without idolizing it, because they know the One who made it is more beautiful still. They can explore the fascinating labyrinth of genetics or archaeology or chemistry without supposing the world can be saved by it, because they know that the Author of science is also the One who has saved the world. They can minister to the dredges of society, to those paralyzed by hunger or disease or disaster, without being utterly overwhelmed by the immensity of the world’s needs, because they know that every soul is watched over by One who is much more able to save than they. In short, they can love the world as God’s creation without being mastered by it, in idolatry or despair, because they know the one who is Master of it.
If this is the case, why should the “children of this world” (Luke 16:8) be wiser than the children of the Light? We have the reason to invest in the talents we are given, not they. We know the Creator, and therefore we know the priceless value of everything He made, from sand to trees to mountains, birds and fish and beasts. But especially, we know the inestimable worth of His crowning creation, humanity, and all the variety and gifts He has endowed us with. We must invest what He has granted us; to do otherwise is to count as trash what He has made. May the children of Light never take for granted every invaluable treasure created by God.
Heaven above is softer blue
Earth around is sweeter green
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen
-George W. Robinson, “I am His and He is Mine”