Aloha Friday Message – September 20, 201 – Stewards praying for stewards

1938AFC092019 – Stewards praying for stewards

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    1 Timothy 2:1-2 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

Luke 16:10 10 Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.

May Peace always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd! Already we are in the season of Autumn, the season of harvest, of falling leaves, of back-to-school specials, and the seemingly never-ending hoopla of football – at least in the northern hemisphere (fall in the southern hemisphere is March to May). It is time for putting away summer clothes, for putting up pickles and preserves, for putting out stuff we don’t really need any longer, and for putting in some time getting ready for our series of holidays – Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Despite all this busyness over business, we have some ongoing responsibilities as well. One of those ongoing responsibilities is directly connected to today’s Key Verse from 1 Timothy. It goes like this:

 

1 Thess 5:16-18

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. That short little three-item list is so easy to remember and so hard to do! With all the craziness in the World these days, it often seems as though there’s not much to rejoice about in our lives. Wars, diseases, fires, storms, floods, politics, religious hostilities, gender issues, abortions, addictions, fraudulent claims, all kinds of unimaginable abuse and human neglect, murders, genocides, torture of innocents, persecutions, and baseless but rampant hatred for no discernible reasons. How can there be any rejoicing in the midst of all that? Well, that’s just the first part of the list. The answer – the power and grace – to rejoice always begins in the second item of that list – pray without ceasing.

What does that mean and how is that possible? Given all the horrible things we have to deal with every day, we could pray 24/7 for God to stop all that suffering, and never run out of things about which to pray. There is so much more to pray about, to pray for, and so many others with whom we can pray. A Christian life should be over-and-above-all a joyous life. We have eternal life in Christ (YOLOF!). If we wish to rejoice more, then we must wish to pray more. Prayer does not have to be – and should not always be – about our grief, pain, and suffering. Prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise are the kinds of prayers God enjoys and expects. Remember that old hymn “Count your Blessings?” (↔ Music Link) That is such a wonderful exercise for our evening prayers, and it is way more fun and useful than counting sheep! In fact, if we really worked on those kinds of prayers, we’d never run out of things to offer up to God in prayer. That makes the whole idea of “pray without ceasing” a nearly endless opportunity for rejoicing.

Prayer helps enrich every moment in which God is praised, enhances every act and word making their goodness even more right and proper, and actually helps make The World a better place. In this way we see the goodness of God in sparing us and preventing those things which can impair our rejoicing. God does not make junk, nor does he rejoice in suffering. Everything God has made – including us Belovéd – is made for goodness, joy, edification, correction, and Love. In short, the more we pray the more rejoicing we experience while as we rejoice more, we are led to pray more. THAT is what I call a terrific plan. But wait! There’s more! When we are occupied with prayerful rejoicing and joyful prayer, we are saturated with that Attitude of Gratitude that brings overwhelming Peace surpassing all understanding. You remember that passage, right?

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That sounds a lot like our Key Verse, doesn’t it? There are a couple of other points the Apostle Paul makes in that passage that can guide us in how to pray. We are to be gentle, not angry, not prideful, but gentle all the time everywhere. All of us could use some work in that area, especially on the freeway or the grocery store, or maybe in the movies (or even in church???) because those are the ordinary places in life were the enemy likes to whack us in the ankle so it looks like we stumble and fall. So the Apostle Paul goes on to say, “Do not worry about anything.” We don’t have to slip into some sort of Pollyanna mentality to avoid worry; we just need to aim for a little balance in our lives – a balance between faith and trust. (← Check it out! It’s a good one!) Praying for an end to suffering is important, and that is one of the major purposes for the Moon Beam Network – we intercede by praying for, with, and about others. These are the practical things in life that should be included in joyful prayer.

In the past, some subscribers have told me to leave politics out of these posts – and I concur – but we can’t leave politics out of our lives as the Apostle Paul shows us when he says how we must pray ” … I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” If we spent as much time and energy (I’m pointing right a me here) asking God to bless and guide ALL our leaders throughout the world and all of those in authority that they might govern with compassion, morality, integrity, wisdom, and justice so that we can all live together in peace, then we have done what we should – we have exercised our stewardship of prayer by praying for the stewards whom we choose so that they will serve us with their knowledge, skills, and abilities as leaders and coworkers in the Kingdom of God. Is that so much to ask? If we have indeed counted all our blessings, if we have inculcated our attitude of gratitude in every moment, if we have struck a balance between begging for Mercy and offering Mercy – then we have been “faithful in a very little” so that we are “faithful also in much.” Good stewards are good managers of balanced rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. When we are faithful in that small part of the entirety of our lives (again YOLOF), then we will have done what is expected of us. In all of the things we do to strike this balance in our service to those who are stewards for us, we must also use wise discernment so we will not be led astray by false hopes and empty promises. Jesus warned us about that.

Luke 21:8And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. How do we recognize those “good and faithful stewards” God has given to us to help us live good and fruitful lives? Are they only Christians? Are they only people we know? Are they only leaders who swear to us they have the answers to all our woes? The test of the worth of their stewardship is the fruit of their works as spelled out in the Letter of James: James cautions people to be discerning about the fruit of their service to others. (See James 3:17, Matthew 7:14, and Luke 6:44). We, too, must be discerning. See 1 John 4:1-3 … “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, 3 and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God.” Do you see a steward who clearly does not belong to God? Then that is the steward for whom we must offer ” … supplications, prayers, intercessions,  [ … ]  for kings and all who are in high positions.

Being faithful to the Christian life is certainly challenging – I remember one commentator saying “life truly is a bed of roses, but everyone knows roses are full of thorns” – but it is not all drudgery and misery either. The main reason for that is that we are not in this alone. We have each other, and together we “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances.” We have the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to enflame us with the Power of the Blood of the Lamb! That word fellowship is often translated communion. We’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again. In the Mass, when we hear that phrase “in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,” or “in the unity of the Holy Spirit,” or “in the communion of the Holy Spirit,” the word we are echoing is κοινωνίᾳ (koinonia) {koy-nohn-ee’-ah}. My favorite passage featuring this word is Acts 2:42 – 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. This is a summary of Christian life: [1] Apostolic teaching, [2] fellowship, [3] the Eucharist, and [4] the prayers – prayers we offer with ceaseless joy for every steward among us – good or bad – so that we can all live together in Peace, so that we can know safety in even the most dangerous moments, and so that we will know the never-ending, everlasting, always Blesséd presence of the One, True, God and Savior over Heaven and All the Earth.

That, Belovéd, is one great way to live, and it beats the socks off any other life you can dream up! We can be faithful in these little things – the things that occur inside our sphere of influence – and we can be faithful as well in joyfully, prayerfully, constantly serving the stewards outside that sphere who nonetheless impact even our own meager gifts. Doing so opens the door to being gifted with more missions of service at greater levels of responsibility and reward. Before we realize it, we are immersed and saturated with blessings so numerous we will never be able to count them all. Man! What a great life that is!!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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