October 18th, 2006
Another installment in the upside-down teachings of Jesus. On our social scale, doctors are higher than teachers or maintenance workers but lower than judges or CEOs of major corporations. On Jesus’s scale, little children are up the top and important business leaders are down the bottom. If you want to climb the ladder, then according to Jesus you have to become more humble, you have to spend more time serving other people, you have to think less about your own interests, and you have to appreciate and care for the little people. You have to become little if you want to be big.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 18
18:1 At that time the disciples came to ask Jesus, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” 18:2 Jesus called a little child to himself, and set the child in the midst of them, 18:3 saying, “I can guarantee that unless you change to become like little children, you won’t get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 18:4 People who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 18:5 Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me, 18:6 but people who cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, such people would be better off sinking in the depths of the sea with a huge millstone hung around their necks.
18:7 “Woe to the world because of temptations to sin! Temptations must come, but woe to that person through whom the tempting comes! 18:8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to live the rest of your life maimed or crippled, rather than being cast into the eternal fire with both hands and feet intact. 18:9 If your eye causes you to stumble, pull it out, and throw it away. It is better for you to live the rest of your life with one eye, rather than being cast into the hell of fire with both eyes intact. 18:10 Don’t look down on one of these little ones, because I can tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father in heaven.
18:12 “What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes missing, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and look for the missing one? 18:13 I can guarantee that if he finds it he celebrates over it more than over the ninety-nine which haven’t gone missing. 18:14 In the same way, your Father in heaven doesn’t want any of these little ones to die.
18:15 “If your brother sins against you, let him know the problem between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. 18:16 But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two more people with you, so that every word may be established by two or three witnesses. 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he won’t even listed to the church, let him be to you like a Gentile or a tax collector. 18:18 I can guarantee that whatever you tie up on earth will be tied up in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will be released in heaven. 18:19 I guarantee that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything you ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 18:20 Where two or three people gather together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.”
18:21 Then Peter said, “Lord, how often should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Seven times?” 18:22 Jesus said to him, “Not just seven times, but seventy seven times. 18:23 You see, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 18:24 When he had begun the process, a man who owed him ten million dollars was brought in. 18:25 He couldn’t pay so the king ordered that he be sold with his wife, his children and all that he had, in payment for the debt. 18:26 The servant knelt before him and begged, ‘Your majesty, have patience with me and I will repay in full!’ 18:27 The king was moved with compassion. He released him and forgave the debt.
18:28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred dollars. He seized him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 18:29 His fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you!’ 18:30 He would not, but went and had him thrown into prison until he should pay back the full amount. 18:31 His fellow servants were upset when they saw what had happened, and they told the king the whole story. 18:32 The king called him in and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 18:33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 18:34 The king was angry, and sent him off to be tortured until he should pay all that he owed. 18:35 My heavenly Father will do the same to you, if you refuse in your heart to forgive your brothers and sisters.”
Entry Filed under: Generosity