You must not let sin reign in your mortal bodies or command your obedience to bodily passions, you must not let any part of your body turn into an unholy weapon fighting on the side of sin; you should, instead, offer yourselves to God, and consider yourselves dead men brought back to life; you should make every part of your body into a weapon fighting on the side of God; and then sin will no longer dominate your life, since you are living by grace and not by law.
Does the fact that we are living by grace and not by law mean that we are free to sin? Of course not. You know that if you agree to serve and obey a master you become his slaves. You cannot be slaves of sin that leads to death and at the same time slaves of obedience that leads to righteousness. You were once slaves of sin, but thank God you submitted without reservation to the creed you were taught. You may have been freed from the slavery of sin, but only to become ‘slaves’ of righteousness.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’
When a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him
Trust and mutual respect are two things which I constantly tell my team are hard-earned and yet, extremely fragile. All you need to do is to break a promise or commit a mistake once and it would undo all the hard work previously done to earn the trust in the first place. I was constantly reminded in my previous career that ‘you are only as good as your last campaign’ or that ‘one mistake is all it takes to ruin your reputation’.
Therefore I can only imagine the weight of responsibility that St Peter and the other apostles felt when Jesus decided to build His ministry upon them; after all, they were mere fishermen. Yet, look at our church today. Through the centuries, the many popes who inherited the mantle and guided the church through crises after crises were entrusted with a huge weight. And today, Pope Francis leads us in his own inimitable manner.
For someone who has been entrusted with the entire church, he truly is a man filled with love, joy and humility. And as someone who leads a small team of ten, I sometimes have to remind myself that surely my issues are miniscule compared to what our church leaders have to deal with. Yet here I am blowing my top at the slightest mistake, or stomping to someone’s office to make my feelings (usually anger) clear to them.
Brothers and sisters, as we are entrusted with more and more in our lives, let us not forget that what is going to be required of us is a true ‘deep dive’ into our hearts, to see if we have the werewithal to deal with the added responsibilities. For if we are entrusted with more in terms of money, then we need to shore up against greed. If we are entrusted with more in terms of people, then we need to fill up on patience and kindness. If we are entrusted with more in terms of responsibility, then we need to make sure that we rely on wisdom and not let pride hinder us.
And what happens if we are entrusted with more work in ministry? Much more will be required in terms of our prayer life. We must safeguard ourselves by ensuring that we invest more time in prayer, so that we do not fall prey to sin. Because when even much more is asked of us, it is only through God’s graces that we will be strong enough to take on the extra load
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, fill us with your graces so that we may be empowered to take on the work which you have prepared for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all those who trust us wth their lives, their hopes and their dreams.