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Steal, Beg, or Dig?

Daily Reading: Luke 16

Scripture Focus: ‘What shall I do? ... I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do... (Luke 16.3-4)

Devotional Thought: When I read the story of the dishonest manager, I feel like asking the manager, "What gives you the right to go into your master's accounts and take his possessions?" The dishonest manager gives his answer in vv. 3-4. I like how J. B. Chapman outlines this response: Shall I "Dig, Beg, or Steal?" (J. B. Chapman, quoted in Beacon Bible Commentary, 562)

What gives you the right?

  • "I can steal because I'm too lazy to dig." Too many people don't want to work for it. Today we would simply vote in politicians who would do the stealing for us!

  • "Well, I have my dignity! I can steal because I'm entitled to equality." Too many think that those who won't work have a right to the fruits of others' labors. After all they shouldn't be made to feel self-conscious or different. They shouldn't have to resort to begging.

  • "Because I can." Finally, exhausting his excuses and our patience, he would just say, "Because I can get away with it." That dishonest manager was in a position to take advantage of his employer. And so he did it. He had no scruples, no pride in himself, no sense of what was right.

When it comes to spiritual things, do we steal, expecting others to do the hard work of prayer and service? Do we beg, saying things like, "God, I know I should have done this, but I didn't. Can you take care of it?" That's a step better, for we can cloak it in piety and humility. Or, do we dig? Are we willing to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty?

Prayer: Lord, help me not to be a spiritual thief or beggar, but to be willing to exert myself in the seeking of your kingdom and righteousness. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 7 O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle. 8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah 9 As for the head of those who surround me, let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them! 10 Let burning coals fall upon them! Let them be cast into fire, into miry pits, no more to rise! 11 Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily! 12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. 13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence. (Psalms 140:7-13)

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