A Love from out of this World!

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are”

1 Jn. 3:1

It was a family crisis. The centerpiece of the story is about two wayward sons and a father’s love that would not let them go. Two distinct attempts for finding happiness are symbolized in the story. One rebels and is attracted to the lifestyle of the world and uses the gifts of the father to fund his pagan desires. The other remains at home and by doing so assumes that the father owes him something for not being like his wayward younger brother. Missing in the older brother’s understanding is that the antidote for being bad is not just being “good.” In each case, the father’s love for his sons is abused. Many lessons can be drawn from the Luke 15 parable. There is, however, one intriguing truth that stands out. One implied question remains unanswered.  If the search for happiness by both boys leads to dead ends, then where can the real answer for happiness be found? Finding the answer implies a search for meaning and fulfillment. Jesus is the unspoken answer. He is offering Himself to those who are dissatisfied, desperate and despairing.  

The King James Version translates 1 John 3:1 “What manner of love . . .” The Greek idiom is difficult to translate but literally means, “From what country” does this love come. Such love, in other words, is from out of this world. Such love is a call to others to give of themselves in similar ways. The greatest offering that any can give comes not from a spirit of compulsion but from a heart filled with gratitude. A trustworthy steward, then, is one who responds to God’s generosity out of a sense of gratitude and does not do so in order to receive His blessings. Such is the lesson the two sons failed to grasp.  

The faithful steward becomes a conduit or channel, through whom God blesses others and in the process they too are blessed.

In the first two parables of Luke 15, the lost sheep and the lost coin, someone goes out and searches. This is not the case with the lost son though the father is eager for the return of his son. The older brother remains at home while his brother is lost. This seems to be an intentional point of this triad of parables. There is a desperate search for a sheep and for a coin but not for a brother. There is both a rebuke and an invitation in this series of stories. The question remains: “Who will go searching for the missing brother?” While monetary offerings will never take the place of our personal search for the lost, they do represent a portion of our life spent in building up the kingdom of God. Money spent becomes a tangible expression of our life and of our cherished values.

This issue of the Dynamic Steward is focused on the material resources God has given to his stewards and how they are to care for them. The faithful steward becomes a conduit or channel, through whom God blesses others and in the process they too are blessed. It is one area in which we as stewards are held accountable. The articles in this issue will open windows enabling us to see both opportunities and a renewed sense of accountability. It is out of gratitude to God that we respond to His invitation to participate so that others too may rejoice in the Father’s presence.