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Pointers along the way #711

Are we shrewd as Christians?

- Jacob Ninan

Many people are puzzled about what Jesus meant when He praised an unrighteous manager in a parable (Lk.16:1-8). When we realise that most times when Jesus used parables He was only trying to make just one or two points, and we look for that point, we find that what He tells us is to be shrewd in our practical life! Of course, He was not saying it was OK to be unrighteous! He wants us to be shrewd as serpents while being harmless as doves when we deal with evil men (Mt.10:16) who are waiting there to take advantage of our innocence, make use of us for their advantage, jump over us when it comes to promotions, etc. When we call ourselves children of light as separate from those who are still walking in darkness, what many of us do is to skip being shrewd! We live in our world of Bible studies, prayer meetings and quoting different verses, and we don't learn how to deal with practical things in life! We get into debt, we don't know how to live within our income, we don't know how to save for our future, we are short of money when sickness hits, our relationships get broken, our children wander away right before our eyes, we don't become experts in our area of work, we don't do our work efficiently, etc. All we know is to go to our pastor and ask him to pray for us! We believe naively that God will take care of us automatically without our doing anything on our part to stay close to Him, seeking His wisdom, discerning what is going on around us and then doing what He wants us to do!

The word of God gives us insight, even more understanding than our superiors (Ps.119:99), instruction in behaviour (Pr.1:2-4), protection from sin (Ps.119:11), the general direction for our life and also practical guidelines (v.105). Once we understand this, we will seek for wisdom more than anything else (Pr.4:7), and then God Himself will give us understanding (Pr.2:2-5).

Many Christians are discussing about whether the rapture will come before or after the tribulation, more than about what they should be doing now. Others are finding out that 'white' stands for purity and 'blue' for Christ, etc.! In these ways our lives will be disconnected from the real life we have to live on this earth here and now, and then when we face practical challenges here we don't know what to do. We aren't able to understand the situations we are living in and what we are likely to face, and so we don't prepare for them, while we are occupied with 'loftier things' like how many times the word 'faith' occurs in the Bible!

"These are the things you should have done without neglecting the others" (Mt.23:23) is something that should hit us on our face! Jesus was saying that some things should be more important for us than others. If it's foolish to gain the whole world and lose our soul, isn't it also foolish to have all Bible knowledge and go through all the church rituals and yet not know how to live in this world from day to day?


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