Hagerstown Church of the Brethren
15 S. Mulberry St., Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: 301-733-3565 * FAX: 301-733-3598

"Church in the Heart of the City with the City at Heart"
Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.

From Pastor Twyla's Desk - October 2021

 “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15)
 
This powerful Bible verse follows the parable of “The Shrewd Manager,”  which Jesus was telling his disciples. If we study the parable, we find that it asks us to consider the questions, what, or who, do we highly value? What are our  passions? What motivates us to do what we do? Jesus concludes the parable by  saying, “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve  God and wealth.” The money-loving Pharisees, who were listening too, heard this parable  and sneered at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” As it was then, money is highly valued in our day, but so are other things like prestige, comfort, accolades, pleasure, accomplishments, property, and more. We even value some very good things, like love, faithfulness, honesty, and many other virtues that both Christian and secular culture hold as ideals. All these things can become idols, and when they do, they motivate self-centered, self-seeking, pride-driven behaviors. Jesus said God detests the  things we highly value if they are valued apart from Him. You’ve heard me ask you many times before this what ministries do you hear God calling us to do? I’ve asked, what are your passions for ministry and outreach? These words of Jesus in Luke 16:15, stretch us even further and remind us as we consider our call and passions for ministry, that our values need to be God-centered so that our ministries and outreach are God-driven.  
 
We might ask ourselves as we consider ways to serve each other and our  community, are the ideas we have addressing a need God has revealed to us, or are we doing it because it sounds like a good idea and it will make us feel good and be fun to do, for at the very least, trying it? When we value what God values, we recognize where and how God needs us to do something; and we know we are doing it for God with God’s blessing. Yes, we may find ourselves feeling good for  having successfully completed a project, and that’s okay. In fact, that then should  become the motivation for once again tuning into God’s heart and building our values and ministries on that.
 
During two Sundays in October, as is our practice, we will focus our attention on stewardship. As we consider the sharing of our resources, time, and talents, this scripture and lesson should be taken under advisement. What we decide to give from our financial resources, how much time we will give to the work of the church, and what God-given talents we are willing to use for God’s service, should be prayerfully considered, knowing God rejoices in our giving and at the work we will do when our decisions are based on what God values. Let us glorify God with what we value…God’s values…and allow that to be our  motivation for the living of our faith. Amen. Blessings to All,