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Posts Tagged ‘wealth’

Shrewd but innocent

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The day before yesterday I thought I had nothing to do yesterday, so I wrote Honestly I don’t know what to do tomorrow. Yet, I had a great time together with a friend of mine in a deep conversation about our faith and study and existence in Tokyo. As we strolled down to a small cafe, Gusto cafe at Nagatsuta, the rain was drizzling and covering us with coldness as if the winter is about to begin, but our heart stayed warm. We sat down and began to order menus that were quite variety, so we chose some rice menus and drink bar. It was so cheap, in the end we just paid in total 1,920  Yen for two of us eating and drinking freely from 6-10 pm. Such a long hour!

The talk started casually and heated as we brainstormed some ideas about ourselves and others. Especially I talked about myself and what has happened to me this following years. Still lingering on my mind our last Bible study about vision, a hard yet necessary topic I have been thinking ever since a vision was given to me about 17 years ago, a vision about coming to Japan. Never thought before of what I might be or do. Yet, that dream came true just about the time. I am now here in Tokyo to grow in knowledge of Christ to whom I belong and becoming more like him in character. This is so sweet to my ear, the true idol in my life.

Particularly, I got some enlightment about what has happened to me lately. I faced some opposition concerning my wish to study doctoral degree in Japan. This wasn’t wrong idea to many, but to some it is total disobedience. I agreed with them in some notions that this will neglect the work of ministry in local station. Motives are questionable that I have to deeply set up prayers to confirm myself of the right motivation. This wasn’t easy but incredibly necessary to give me peace despite of the strong opposition. The fact that the door is opened for me is too obvious to ignore the calling. I just follow whatever vision I once received. And God himself put mission to accomplish here, to finish studying doctoral and developing my character. He is so good.

One of the things that caught my breath was the notion of using materials or wealth  in Luke 16:9 “I tell you, use wordly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” This is from the story of a shrewd manager in dealing with the problem of getting laid off by his boss because he was accused of wasting the rich man’s possessions. It is not a nice story of someone’s goodness, but this story is telling me that being shrewd (with other synonims as cunning, crafty, foxy, sensible, but also smooth, smart, sly, tricky, and wise) is recommended regarding our survival. In other words, it is necessary to be smart in order to live. Remember…in order to live or to survive! Not to take advantage of others! These are two different matters. Take a closer look at the passage below for the full story of the shrewd manager.

There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg– I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ ‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’ Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. ‘He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing wiht heir own kind tha are the people of the light.

Sometimes I think I need to be innocent and obedient, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I can be fooled around. When someone is taking advantage of my personality and condition, it is allowed to fight back for survival. This is so clear when it comes to study or job and relationship. Even though Jesus says

If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. (Mat 5: 39-40) If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him tow miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Mat 5:41-42) Also Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mat 5:44)

Jesus doesn’t mean us to be a stupid fellow. He clearly says I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (Mat10:16)

Simply Jesus wants us to have love also for ourselves, our life, and work on it so that we may have full life (or productive) not lacking anything, not discouraged, not pityful or pathetic in people’s eyes. Wealth is something useful for us to obtain full life, but this is far different from accumulating wealth, instead giving and receiving is of balance. Imagine a tree is only absorbing nutrition from the ground but never producing fruits or seeds and so giving back to the life-cycle and in the end the ground. This tree will be considered dead.

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