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Lost and Found Faithful - November 29, 2023

Published 3 months ago • 6 min read

November 29, 2023

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The True

Lost and Found Faithful

Found. What a wonderful word and promise!

First, it depicts the endless love and relentless pursuit of God the Father.

John Newton used it to illustrate God’s pursuit of us when he penned Amazing Grace: “I once was lost, but now am found.”

Jesus, in His parables, repeatedly invoked the imagery of being found to paint the picture of unabashed devotion and love:

1) The father used it to welcome his wayward prodigal son home: “He was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24).

2) The shepherd used it to announce his joy upon recovering the lost lamb: “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep” (Luke 15:6).

3) The woman used it to celebrate finding her coin: “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin” (Luke 15:9).

There may be nothing as disorienting as being lost. But there may be nothing as restorative as being found after having once been lost. This is the primary depiction of ‘found’ in scripture, and it describes each of us who have been pursued by a loving God, and are now found in Him.

But it is when we couple that form of ‘found’ with the one we find in 1 Cor. 4:2 that we gain a more thorough understanding of the concept: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

My friends, the work of Jesus on our behalf is a finished one. In fact, He proclaimed as much from the cross, just before He died: “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30). It is a glorious thing to rest in that finished work. We once were lost, but now you and I are found!

There is a permanence to that reality. But there is also a beautiful invitation in 1 Cor. 4:2 (and other passages) to steward that completed work in a way that makes it accessible to others. The work is finished, and we are now stewards of it.

There is a mysterious component of finding something that is lost in that it happens all of a sudden. One moment there is a searching, and in the next what was lost is found. If you and I desire to be “found faithful” upon our Savior’s return, we must be constantly stewarding the work He’s entrusted to us. That is what will enable us to proclaim John 17:4: “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”

What an unfathomable joy to have been found!

What an unspeakable thrill to anticipate being found faithful!


World

A Fragile Truce

A multi-day lull in the fighting persists in Israel and Gaza, as Israel and Hamas continue to release prisoners and hostages on a schedule brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States. More than 80 hostages have been released by Hamas, but at least 150 remain captive. Israel has released 180 prisoners, most of whom are young Palestinian men accused of hostilities. It appears possible that the truce could be extended as additional hostage/prisoner exchanges are agreed to, but the situation is extremely tenuous, and a resumption of wide-scale fighting seems all but certain.

Analysis and eternal perspective: As we continue to view this story through our four overarching principles, we rejoice for the captives who are released, and we acknowledge again both the special place in God’s heart for the Jewish people and His expansive and unconditional love for every person formed in His image—all of us. We also recognize the impactful role of other governments, including those who negotiated the current truce.

On that final point, Israel is in a challenging position, as it carries a duty to its people to respond in a way that mitigates against a future similar attack from Hamas, but faces a predictable and mounting campaign from other countries to chart a path toward peace.

As we in The Equipped community pray for peace (Ps. 34:14 is just one of many biblical commands to prioritize and work for peace), we recognize the tension between the current fragile peace and a longer-lasting peace as a result of a diminished Hamas. We also acknowledge that true peace is more than the absence of war, but a result of the redemptive work of Jesus in the hearts and minds of individuals. May our most fervent prayer be that souls would find eternal peace through Jesus in the midst of such devastating circumstances.


U.S.

A Quadrillion Dollars

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in a case that some experts say will impact more than a quadrillion dollars. The case, Moore v. United States, centers on the question of when an asset can be taxed—specifically, whether an asset like a stock can be taxed while it is held, but before it is sold. Supporters of such a tax say that assets with “unrealized gains” provide a tax shelter, while critics of the tax point out that gains are not “realized” until the sale of such an asset, and that this change would dramatically disincentivize investment.

Analysis and eternal perspective: The Bible contemplates the topic of money a great deal. Jesus regularly taught His followers how to interact with money. While there are scores of biblical passages to turn to, perhaps none encapsulates why this is such an important topic better than Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” God doesn’t need or desire your money per se, but He fervently desires your heart, and the path to your heart is very often through your treasure.

Going one layer deeper, the Bible also has something to say about taxation. In Matthew 22, the Pharisees try to trap Jesus by asking whether they should pay the tax imposed by Caesar. After noting it was Caesar’s image on the currency of the day, Jesus famously responded, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matt. 22:21). There are many lessons for us to glean from this passage, but the primary one is that everything we have belongs to God, as it came from His hand.

It is also worth taking to heart what U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in his 1819 opinion in McCulloch v Maryland: “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.”


U.S.

New Strategy

There is a new strategy on Capitol Hill for funding the government, but it appears to be heading for an all-too-familiar deadline without resolution. Under the terms of the recently enacted Continuing Resolution, several federal agencies will run out of money on January 19, while the rest will do so on February 2. The rationale behind this strategy is that it would be more effective to focus on funding smaller portions of the government at a time than it is to approve spending for the entire government at one time. It seems likely, however, that these rolling deadlines are going to arrive without the smaller bills having been enacted, which will produce the now-familiar threat of a (partial) government shutdown.

Analysis and eternal perspective: There should be universal agreement that the federal government’s budgeting and spending process is badly broken. While there is wide disagreement on the proper remedy, everyone can plainly see the status quo is not working. Ironically, this current effort to break the spending bills into two segments is a reminder that there are really twelve appropriation bills that make up the discretionary portion of the federal budget, and each of them is supposed to be considered each year. Perhaps it is time for both parties to re-commit to a process where that debate and consideration again occurs.

We as The Equipped community likely have varied views on federal spending, and we should all exercise the beautiful freedom to advocate for those views as part of self-governance. We should also avail ourselves of the readily-apparent truth that the current process needs to be fixed. It will take people of good faith from a wide array of perspectives to achieve that course correction. The political forces in DC benefit from the chaos, but the people feel the effect noted in Matthew 12:25, that “every…household divided against itself will not stand.”

Let’s lead the way in standing united for a true debate of the budget and spending process, even as we have varied opinions about the result that debate should produce.


The Beautiful

The Lamp of God's Word

There is nothing more beautiful than God’s Word, and nothing else that so clearly guides our path! Take time to linger in His Word today!

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Ps. 119:105).



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