Editor’s Note: Today’s devotion is written by Pastor Yohan Lee of Radiance Christian Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
2 Sam. 18:32-33 (If you are unfamiliar with the story, it is helpful to read the entire chapter).
“The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.” 33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”
In the 2008 cinematographic masterpiece, Kung Fu Panda, it is revealed to the audience that the antagonist—Tai Lung, the ferocious snow leopard—was actually trained by Master Shifu (the red panda) in the Jade Palace, the home of China’s greatest heroes! In fact, it was Shifu himself who raised Tai Lung from infancy and loved him like his very own son. And this love ultimately became his undoing, for Shifu was blind to the fact that Tai Lung’s heart was evil, and he was not worthy to open the dragon scroll.
Do you ever notice how often movies play off the theme of love blinding one party to the evils of the other? It’s a prevalent theme because it happens in real life all the time. How many of your friends have fallen for guys or girls that were clearly no good for them? In every group, there is that “jerk” whom everyone in the group must concede, “He may be a jerk, but he’s our jerk.” Similarly, parents are often the last ones to see just how misbehaved their children are.
David’s conflict over his son Absalom is very understandable. On one hand, Absalom was clearly evil, and it would have been an utter tragedy to allow Absalom to rule Israel (could you imagine the type of king he would have made?). But on the other hand, Absalom was still the king’s son, and was still loved by his father. Sometimes standing for the Lord will mean that you will have to stand against loved ones. This is why Christ says that the Gospel may bring a sword and pit a man against his father or a daughter against her mother (Matt. 10:32-37). We must not make the mistake of Eli, who honored his sons more than the Lord (1 Sam. 2:29). This day, ask yourself: What does it mean to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Can you put him above your most beloved people, and will you do what is right no matter the consequences?
Lord, help me this day to set You apart in my heart as Lord and to love You more than all others. Give me the character to do what is right no matter the cost, whether in family, career, finances, etc.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 28
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 25:19-23: Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.” 21 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, “Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.” 23 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
Question to Consider
- What happens to the two servants who multiplied their master’s talents?
- Was the master’s reaction any different between the two servants? What does this imply?
- What does good stewardship mean for you in your workplace? Your church? Your finances?
- They were commended, given more as a result, and entered into the joy of their master
- The master did not commend the servant with a return of five talents any more than the servant with a return of two talents. The absolute return is not as important to God as much as good stewardship with what was given.
- Personal response.
We began the day being reminded of putting God ahead of everything else, even our beloved family. In the afternoon, we were challenged to serve the Lord, yielding much fruits for the Lord. In light of that, review your day. Did you put God ahead of other important and perhaps urgent matters of your life? Did you bear any fruits for God today?