Reflections: Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 30:15-26; Revelation 2:1-29

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever read your school’s student handbook, or an employee handbook from work? They are not page turners, that’s for sure! They are dry, dull, and lead to despair. The handbook has one purpose. It clearly shows the rules. It shows the law. Any infraction of the rules and you are out. The handbook’s purpose is three-fold. It seeks to identify who you are. It seeks to define what you are to do. And it lays out consequences when you forget your identity or responsibility. 

Paul in 1 Corinthians 4 may sound very much like a student handbook. Our identity is “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Our responsibility is to be “found faithful.” And the consequences for our failure, the consequence for our sin, is the judgment of God. If you read Paul’s encouragement to the apostles through the lens of the Law only, it will lead to despair. We are not faithful. No student, no employee, no sinner is ever completely faithful. Because of that we should be found guilty, suspended, or fired.

Now look at your identity as God intended it to be seen. Not based on what others say about you. Not on your perceived keeping of the Law. Look at your identity through Jesus. You are a servant and steward. You have been bought back from certain and eternal death by the blood of the sinless Lamb of God shed for you on the Cross. You are an adopted child, into a holy and loving family, through your Baptism. Your identity is not based on you at all. It is not based on your success or your failure. Thank God! Your identity is rooted in the magnanimous love of God for you. 

In your Baptism you were brought into the Priesthood of all believers.  A steward reflects the will and wishes of the Master. As stewards we are merciful even as our Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). We forgive as we have been forgiven (Matthew 6:12). We love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). Through Gospel eyes, which see Jesus on the Cross atoning for all your sin, you do not fear God’s judgment. He judged Jesus for you. All your unfaithfulness, all your sin was placed on Jesus and died on His Cross. You are forgiven. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Spirit, water, blood entreating, Working faith and its completing In the One whose death-defeating Life has come, with life for all.(“Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying” LSB 597, st.6)

Rev. Randy Sturzenbecher is pastor of Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, Black Hawk, SD. He is also the vice president of Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch