Consistent Christian Walk|
A How-To Guide
Q. Sometimes I find it really hard to keep going to church, read my Bible, and associate with church friends. I grew-up in a dysfunctional family and am prone to depression and isolation. I know this isn't an excuse - but do you have any thoughts about it? Any suggestions for people like me?
A Surprising, Loving Answer
One of my favorite Bible passages is the story of the faithful steward found in Luke 12:42-48. I think you will find a surprising, comforting answer in this parable. Let's look at it.
The Faithful Steward
42 "And the Lord said, 'Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?
43 "Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.
44 "Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
45 "But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk -
46 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
47 "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,
48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." (NASB)
Accountability Commensurate with Understanding
It is important not to take the last verse out of context. That is why we printed the entire parable. But, you can clearly see that the degree of punishment or reward is commensurate with the willfulness or knowledge of the servant.
In other words, church leaders and teachers, or I might add those who were raised in strong, Christian homes, will probably be held more accountable than others for their behaviors. This is because someone who is fully aware of the King is held to a higher standard than someone who is not.
Our Lord is Just&Fair
From Christ's parables we know that the Lord is just and fair. "The judge will mete out in proportion to both the privileges each person has enjoyed and his responses to those privileges (see Romans 2:12-16)," (Zondervan Study Bible 2002, 2101).
Although this parable in Luke 12 is not an excuse for poor behaviors or attitudes, it does reveal to us that those who were given more will have more expected of them.
Just Do It Anyway
We are expected to try.
We are not expected to always "feel good" about doing things. The very concept of "suffering with Christ" demands that we will not always feel good.
So we need to just obey Him regardless. No matter how we feel.
So I would suggest all of us go to church even when we don't feel like it. (We can sit in the back if we want). We can try to listen to a good radio program or tape - or read just one little portion of our Bibles every day. It doesn't have to be much.
But, for Christians who do not suffer from clinical depression and who grew-up in church families please be tolerant of those less fortunate than you. After all, the Lord will hold all of us accountable for how we judge others, too.
"The more resources, talents, and understanding we have, the more we are required to use them effectively. God will not hold us responsible for gifts he has not given us, but all of us have been given enough gifts and duties to keep us busy until Jesus returns" (Life Application Study Bible 2004, 2232).
Life Application Study Bible, NLT large-print edition. 2004. Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale.
Zondervan KJV Study Bible large-print edition. 2002. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. (Notes for Luke 12:48).
Authors Valorie Emilio holds an M.A. in History from UCLA focusing upon early church history. Ken received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University and a V.O.M. Certificate in Persecuted Church Ministries from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.