2 Peter 1:2-7
May you have more and more grace and peace as you come to know our Lord more and more.
By his divine power, he has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God himself, who has called us by his own glory and goodness. In making these gifts, he has given us the guarantee of something very great and wonderful to come: through them you will be able to share the divine nature and to escape corruption in a world that is sunk in vice. But to attain this, you will have to do your utmost yourselves, adding goodness to the faith that you have, understanding to your goodness, self-control to your understanding, patience to your self-control, true devotion to your patience, kindness towards your fellow men to your devotion, and, to this kindness, love.
Jesus went on to speak to the chief priests, the scribes and the elders in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug out a trough for the winepress and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce from the vineyard. But they seized the man, thrashed him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another servant to them; him they beat about the head and treated shamefully. And he sent another and him they killed; then a number of others, and they thrashed some and killed the rest. He had still someone left: his beloved son. He sent him to them last of all. “They will respect my son” he said. But those tenants said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they seized him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and make an end of the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this text of scripture:
It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone.
This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see?
And they would have liked to arrest him, because they realised that the parable was aimed at them, but they were afraid of the crowds. So they left him alone and went away.
“His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion”
I was having a conversation with a close friend recently about how we do not ‘own’ our children – we are merely guardians or stewards of them, entrusted to us by God to raise, provide for, and protect until such a point where they are capable to live out the plans that God has laid out for them individually. Not our plans for them, but God’s plans. Our duty as parents is to empower them and instill in them the proper skills and values to guide them on their own adventure – their walk with God.
God has a plan for each one of us. We may not know what that plan is, but faith and prayer for guidance to doing His will, will reveal that plan eventually. Sometimes we feel that we don’t have enough: not enough money, experience, time, brains, resources, energy… But we do. God would not give us something that is so beyond our capabilities that we would not be able to execute it. No knowledge? He will present the resources. No time? Help will come to relieve us. No experience? He will give us the experience, and the mentors to get us there. All we have to do is pray.
I know it seems hard to believe and it is easier said than done, but it is true. God our Father, generous and merciful and loving, has given us the gifts and promises to empower us to live our lives to the fullest potential, to serve others in His name. He has given us the tools and values, and then given us the liberty to exercise our creative licenses. He does not tell us how to use them, rather He gives us the responsibility to use them wisely. As St Peter says in today’s reading, we have to add to our faith “virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.” We need to keep adding, as a life-long process, to our God-given ‘tool kit’ the tools necessary to carry us forward and to withstand the temptations and evils of the world that would otherwise sway us off-path.
We cannot spend our years being afraid to live them because we think we do not have enough. Fear holds us back into the arms of the comfort zone. If we take our promises and our gifts, and not use it or use it unwisely, whatever we have then may yet be taken away from us. Denying ourselves of what God has given us is akin to denying God Himself. God has given us a most precious gift — life. How we live that life is a testament to how we consecrate God in our lives. A life lived for God in service of others in the name of love — that is the highest devotion that we should strive towards — hard as it may be, for that is the life that Jesus lived for us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the courage to live up to the promises and gifts You have given us. Guide us towards the life You have planned for us and help us to live it to the best of our abilities.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise for entrusting us with our lives and the promises You have given us. We pray that we will not squander them, but use it in service of others.