Monday, February 17, 2020

Fractured Parables

 A man was about to take some time off, so he called his workers into a meeting. He delegated responsibilities to each person with what he thought they could handle. Everybody had their assignments and got to the tasks at hand. Well almost everybody. The first two employees took their many tasks and did what they were supposed to but the third guy stuck his one task on the back burner and did nothing.

  Well, the boss comes back from vacation and calls each one into his office to see how things have been going. The first guy says here is what you gave me and I did it all. The boss scowls, ”What do you want a medal? “You did your job, it is nothing special”. The second man comes in and explains he got his task done as well. The boss looks at him and says, “Well, I must have not have given you enough to do. Go do your job! That guy over there did twice as much as you did, why are you not like him?
Finally, the last guy comes in and passes the incomplete task back to his boss. The boss is confused, “Why didn’t you do it? “Well, it’s your fault”, the third man exclaims, “The environment here is too harsh, too much judgment and expectations”. “I didn’t feel important enough with my one task to feel like part of the team, so I couldn’t perform to expectations”. The boss understanding his plight and replies, “How could we function without you?” “I think I am going to promote you to head over these two, that way we can’t be accused of being unfeeling and judgmental”. So the third man takes over by first firing the first man since he was making everyone feel bad and then putting all his work on the second man so he will learn to work harder.

 I hope you figured out that isn’t how Jesus told this parable.

  Yet that’s how some make it play out. Those that work the most are not told ‘Well done good servant” “here is your reward” but rather are expected to do more and more till they are burned out. Workers are not praised for their actions but unfairly compared to others. All the while those that do the least are given the forum to complain and criticize and the organization is expected to change itself to meet their needs.

 This shouldn't happen in the Lord’s church. We have a responsibility to be workers in our Lord’s kingdom. Let make sure that do so are encouraged and uplifted. Those that don’t do but lay blame shouldn’t be rewarded but rebuked.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Man In The Cell

  In my imagination, He is setting in his cell considering his fate. The charges have stacked up against him. Robbery, Insurrection Murder. The soldiers have been preparing for the crucifixion. He’s watched as the wood been gathered to assembly the crosses. He heard that a hill outside of town has been selected. It’s only a matter of time now.

  Suddenly soldiers appear and start unlocking the door. It’s sooner than he thought it would be. They drag him as he walks, his steps too slow for them.

  But then who’s in a hurry to get to his own execution? 

  Then he notices something is wrong. They are not taking him down to the roadway but rather up to the Praetorium. As they come out into the dawning sunlight, it blinds his eyes. He can’t see much but he does hear a crowd. His trial is over, his guilt is set, what more could they be doing with him?

  That’s when he hears the voice of the governor. He’s talking about how he is obliged to release one prisoner and he is giving the crowd a choice. For a brief second a gasp of hope rises in him only to be crushed away by the weight of the truth. He is notorious among the people. No one wants to see him free.
 It’s then that he glimpses the other prisoner, the only person standing there that look worse than him.  He has been through the wringer. His face, his head, his back bear witness to the abuse. Yet something is different about him. He has seen hard men, men whose eyes bear the guilt and shame of the things they have done. His eyes are different. This beaten man looks at him differently, like he knows why he is here.  The then voice of the governor cries out, “Who do you choose? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" The crowd echoes in one refrain “Barabbas”

Could you imagine the thoughts that flew through his mind? What’s happening? Why Him? Why me? We never do hear any more about this man, how he left prison, what he did after, how he felt. Yet each of us shares an experience with him. It could have been our name that the crowds chanted.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 

 We are the man in the cell. Trapped by our own sin, a death sentence hanging over us. Yet there was one who was willing to die in our stead. A substitute for our sins.

I’m not sure how Barabbas reacted to this man, but I know how we should.