“He also said to His disciples: ‘There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.’”
What Is a Righteous Life Before God?
Did you all enjoy your meal? As I said in the morning service, it is true to those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the more we serve the Lord, the more weaknesses we find in ourselves and the less self-righteousness we have. Since we are originally weak and imperfect, we get to realize fully what we had thought was our own righteousness and ability is nothing. Therefore, the righteous must live by believing in the righteousness of God and by acknowledging their insufficiencies of their flesh. This is the typical life of Christian who trusts and follows God’s righteousness.
To tell you the truth, every actual life seen from a fleshly perspective is almost alike. In other words, there is no one perfect in this world. Where on earth would you find a perfect person? Since we human beings are created from the dust, we are fragile and insufficient in many ways. Just as even the most precious looking vessel becomes discolored and full of scratches as it is used, the more we are used in the work of God, the more broken our self-righteousness gets as time goes by. Therefore, it is difficult to get our self-righteousness back. We should know and believe this fact.
Even after we become out of shape and discolored, God keeps using us as His vessel for His convenience. A vessel that has been used frequently tells us that the vessel is very useful for holding something. If we want to become a person whom God will entrust with anything and use frequently, we have to have our righteousness and beauty broken first. You and I will see more and more weaknesses, iniquities and insufficiencies as we live out our faith. Therefore our self-righteousness will be shattered and we will have no choice but to live by the faith in the righteousness of God. That is the life of faith that real Christians live. I want to tell you that it is natural for Christians to feel more thankful to God and to have greater understanding of God’s righteousness as we get to see our weaknesses.
Life of the Wise
In today’s passage, Jesus said that the sons of this world are shrewder in their generation than the sons of light. People in this world will do anything for their own success. If a businessman were offered better working conditions than that of his current company, he would not hesitate at all but agree to leave his company with all the useful information. This is very common with people in the business world. The Lord called their astuteness shrewd. Then why does God tell us this? For God wants us to live a shrewd life just as worldly people do before we come to Him. I believe that God is telling us to live a more shrewd life than the sons of this world in this generation even though we are His children who will share His glory before Him. In short, the Lord said so for our understanding.
You and I are human beings who have fading appearances and will find more and more weaknesses as time goes by. However, there is one thing that becomes stronger with time. It is our faith in the righteousness of God. For those of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and understand the righteousness of God, the faith in His righteousness becomes solid and the wisdom in Him grows with time, even though our flesh gets weaker everyday. We are holy people, who received the remission of sins by understanding and trusting in the righteousness of God. That is the reason that our spiritual faith will always be renewed even as our physical body is slowly declining. The righteousness of God has saved us from all sins, which makes us strong. Whenever I remember this, I feel so thankful and joyous.
We still need the wisdom to live the rest of our life since we have imperfect body's, regardless of the fact that we received the remission of sins by believing the righteousness of God. We have to live a shrewd life for the rest of our lives because we have to go through this world even though we are close to God spiritually by understanding and trusting His righteousness. We are waiting for Jesus, who is going to come soon. But we still have a long journey in this world before we go to live with Jesus. Until then we need to know how to live a righteous and shrewd life on earth. That is why Jesus told us to live a shrewd life.
This is the typical life of people in this world: They steal the confidential things from their former company when they move to different company. The steward in today’s passage called the debtors to his master and reduced the amount of their debt. He did such thing that he could be treated well by other people when he leaves his master. Remember that Jesus regarded his action as shrewd.
You and I became righteous through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and we became sinless people of God and His saints by receiving Jesus as our Savior. In spite of the fact, we still have life on earth. How then should we live the rest of our life? We need to live a shrewd life by faith. Brothers and sisters, the righteousness of our flesh will be continuously broken and deteriorated. All the body parts will get worn out and become weaker and weaker. We sometimes feel tired of living in this world. At such moments, we feel like going to see the Lord as soon as possible.
But the reality is we cannot go to Him at our will at anytime, so we need to do our best in doing His work until the day comes. God’s people may feel physically tired and fatigued as their own righteousness is all disappearing in God. But we have responsibility to live a shrewd life for the rest of our lives on earth carrying the glory of God on our back, since we became righteous through the faith in His righteousness and the remission of sins we have received from God. In other words, we should seek to live a shrewd life as we live by faith in the righteousness of God before we stand in the presence of God. That is what the Lord is telling us in today’s Scripture passage.
It Is Not Right for Believers of the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit to Show off Their Self-righteousness
Our self-righteousness should be broken while our faith in the righteousness of God should grow stronger. That is the life of the wise. As a matter of fact, we could be saved because we recognized ourselves as those who have nothing to boast about, rather than that we have so many insufficiencies. We are always weak and wicked; we are foolish people who are full of blemishes and mistakes. Therefore, it is right to live for the Kingdom of God, not for ourselves for the rest of our lives. Even though we are insufficient in many ways, it is wise to live as a people of God’s Kingdom and to be a part of the work in fulfilling the prosperity of His Kingdom. We have already moved our citizenship to the Kingdom of God; we are supposed to pour our energy and heart for our future residence. That is the true wisdom.
Didn’t God say that the more broken and more lost we are, the more useful we become to Him? Then how are we before God? Let’s think about it. Is your righteousness getting bigger with time? Or do you realize your weakness and insufficiency even more as times go by? Before God we get to see our weak and foolish aspects that we never knew. We become fully aware of how insufficient we are to the degree of being shocked. For those of us who received the remission of sins, our weaknesses and insufficiencies keep revealing with time as we serve Jesus. That is how we get to see the original picture of ourselves.
To our disappointment, we cannot do anything about our weaknesses. All we can do with our weaknesses and insufficiencies is to admit and accept them as they are. That is the wise thing to do. If any one of you wants to go back to your old days, thinking, “I used to be a better person,” you should realize that you have no idea what you used to be like. Therefore, you should stop such foolish thoughts. We are all insufficient and full of blemishes. When we do not know about ourselves, we tend to give ourselves better grades; we think of ourselves as courageous and righteous enough to judge others. However, when we find out about who we really are, such self-righteousness will disappear. We should not criticize other people for their weaknesses or insufficiencies. We should know that we are not different from them and we are nothing. We should realize that only the righteousness of God is true righteousness. Only the gospel of the water and the Spirit that saved us, only the grace of God that remitted all our sins, only the gospel that adopted us as God’s children are the things we can boast about. The more broken our flesh gets, the more grateful we become for those things. So having our self-righteousness broken is a great blessing.
Then how should we live the rest of our lives? First of all, we should live wisely by faith. Even though we are insufficient, we become wise people when we live for the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, those who still live for themselves after receiving the remission of sins are truly foolish and stupid. In other words, those who don’t have their righteousness but live for God’s righteousness; those who live for expanding the Kingdom of God are truly wise people while those who just live for themselves after receiving the remission of sins are foolish. That is what the Lord is clearly telling us.
Today’s Scripture passage tells us how we, receivers of remission of sins, can live a shrewd life just as the unrighteous steward did. Brothers and sisters, we have weak bodies but it is wise for us to live for the expansion of God’s Kingdom by trusting in His righteousness. When we live with such a holy purpose, we will be blessed and hear Jesus say, “Well done, good servant, because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17). There are people among the righteous whom God acknowledges. There is no other way to be recognized by God. We do not get acknowledged before God just because we personally have something to boast about. God acknowledges those who know where they will be living; whom they belong to; what they work for and do their best for the Kingdom of God. God commends those who are faithful to Him in spite of their weaknesses.
Brothers and sisters, suppose you are running a company. All of your employees are unique individuals. Can you love them if they boast their smartness and achievements causing frictions at work and not doing their jobs for the company? No, you can’t. This is the same to Jesus. When we compare ourselves to others, some are better than others. However, we are absolutely nothing before God no matter how smart some people seem in comparison to others. Wouldn’t Jesus commend us when we work faithfully for the expansion of the Kingdom of God without competing with others? Those people are really wise people before God’s eyes.
We are all unique individuals. We look so different when we compare ourselves with others. But closer examination will show us that all people are basically the same. From the statistics of survey or counseling, people who seem so different from others have very much the same life with similar thoughts and worries. It is because people are basically the same and that the problems people have are basically the same as well. We are all equal human beings before God.
Did we receive the remission of sins because we lived a good and righteous life before God? Don’t we all know that that is not true? It is only by God’s love that we could receive the remission of sins. We became righteous not because we are better than other people in the world or sinned less than they did, or did many good deeds; but because God loved us and chose us out of His love. We are all prone to commit sins before God, so how can we claim that we received the remission of sins because of our good deeds? I believe you know what is true.
Neither God’s People Nor God’s Servants Should Claim Their Own Righteousness
People who are just born again tend to try hard to cover up their weaknesses by doing good deeds and to show off what they did as they have immature faith in the righteousness of God. They are afraid that their weaknesses will be revealed if they don’t show off first. If too much of their weaknesses get revealed, they don’t have strength to handle it. If too much of their weaknesses are revealed to people, they feel too ashamed to come to church. That is why they try even harder to hide their weaknesses by showing off. Brothers and sisters, we are such pathetic beings that we cannot live without boasting or claiming our self-righteousness even if it is insignificantly small as dirt. Human beings are originally such weak and insufficient beings. Who can be happy when his or her own body hurts? Who can smile when the body is in pain? Where can you find someone who says, “I am happy” when he is hurting? If there is such person, he is most likely to be doing drugs. If someone greets others with smile in spite of the pain he is in, he must be really good at acting or he must have a double personality.
Since all human beings are originally weak, there is no one who is without weaknesses and insufficiencies. However, that is not a problem in our Lord. All we should do is to be united with God’s Church in His order and preach the gospel to the world. On the other hand, it is evil to claim one’s righteousness and thereof disturbing the gospel ministry and destroying the order that God has established. Disturbing the order that has been established in God’s Church and not admitting the order inside the Church is act of rebellion against God. I hope that won’t happen in our Church. I also hope that nobody will claim his righteousness and praise himself in the Church that is the body of God.
No matter whether we are somebody or not, we should get our strength together by faith and put it towards the ministry of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We are living in the difficult time, but we should be united in doing the evangelism work for the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When the work is finished, Jesus will return and give us a new heaven and a new earth. I believe we will all reign with Him there as kings. God will also give us His eternal Kingdom as our inheritance. The Lord is our Father, who will hand over us everything He has, so we need to live for His Kingdom and His righteousness. Therefore, we should set our goals to enter the Kingdom of God and preach the gospel all over the world with all our strength. Whether we are insufficient or talented; whether we are smart or not, we all should do the best in our assigned work and live for our King, Jesus Christ. For such faith is what is expected for those who received the remission of sins. Such saints are truly wise people.
We Are God’s Children Born Again by the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
God’s children live for God the Father. Whether we are blameless or not from our perspectives doesn’t matter at all before God. We do not serve the gospel of the Lord with our own righteousness but we live for the gospel by faith. That is the right way to live. When people drink alcoholic beverage, they say, ‘Cheers!’; likewise we the righteous should keep in mind that we always give ‘cheers’ for God not for ourselves.
For whom are we born-again Christians living? Who should we work for? We need to live for the Lord and for His ministry to be prevalent on this earth. We need to live for the gospel. That is the shrewd life. When we do so, we will be given talents and gifts from God.
Brothers and sisters, do you have anything you think you are better at? Can we boast to each other about something we are good at? No, we can’t. We all respect those who faithfully serve God wherever they are. There is not any specific position that we think of highly or lowly. God uses His servants to assign His work to each saint, saying, “This saint will be useful in this field of work.” So God’s servants can see where someone can be best used when they look at their spiritual conditions. They understand what kind of talents God has given the specific individual and how the person will turn out when a certain task is given to him. Because of their ability to see that, they can post fellow Christians in the most appropriate places for their talents and gifts to be used in serving the gospel. Different talents given by God will be used in different places. Saints are supposed to use their gifts and talents for the work of God. Since every saint has different talents, they can serve the Lord in different places.
We have nothing to boast about. We can live a wise life thanks to the talents from God. And we must live the rest of our lives that way. To live a shrewd life, we have no other choice but to live for God only. There is no other ways to live a shrewd life except for living for God.
That Is Why Jesus Told Us to Make Friends by Unrighteous Mammon
Property of this world in itself isn’t actually dirty. Money itself has a neutral value; it turns out to be good or evil according to the person who uses it; and it is originally clean since it is from God. But God called it ‘unrighteous mammon’ because most people use it for satisfying their sinful desires and for themselves only. People these days regard money as the highest value, don’t they? It is so common that people put more emphasis on making money than knowing God. If they can get more mammons, they would do things against their characters and even abandon God not to mention the fidelity to others or even their own life. Since it promotes people’s greed and feeds their sinful desires, mammon became unrighteous. “Make friends for yourself by unrighteous mammon.” This Word of God means we should take possessions from those who are living for wrong purposes, and use those properties for the righteous task of saving other souls. Those who live such a life are shrewd.
The Lord also said that those who are faithful in very little tasks are shrewd. How can God give more work to those who are not faithful before God? Even if God has prepared so many blessings for them, He will not give His blessings to those who do not live for Him. Since God said so, we cannot serve two masters. The Lord said that there should be only one Master. To Christians Jesus Christ is the only Master.
In the past there were faithful royal servants who gave up their lives for their kings. They willingly took a poisonous drink from their kings without questioning after serving them with love and sincerity. Why did they do that? They could even drink the poison from their loyalty that they would do anything that their king told them to do. History will remember such faithful royal servants even if the people in his time might not recognize his loyalty to the king.
There was a general named Seung-gyum Shin, who died for King Wang Gun, the founder of Koryeo Dynasty (918-1392). When their enemy in a war surrounded them, he put on the king’s clothes and sat in the king’s carriage just to save his king. Because of his sacrifice, the king could escape from the crisis wearing the general’s armor and survive the war. The king held the biggest memorial service for the servant, who had served him so faithfully even to give up his own life; the king buried him in a good place near Chuncheon City, where I am living. The size of the grave is not very big, but it was so well preserved because his proud descendants still take good care of his gravesite. Generation after generation, people remember him for his loyalty to the king, that he changed into the king’s armor and sat in the king’s carriage to die for the king. One strange thing about his gravesite is that there are three mounds. It is because the king was afraid that the golden head of the servant that he made as a replacement of his head and in memory of his loyalty might get stolen. So he had his people make three mounds instead of one. That way people do not know in which mound his real body was buried.
From this historical anecdote of King Wang Gun, who rewarded the faithful servant, late General Seung-gyum Shin and his descendants, we can learn something important. “The Lord our King will treat us the same way. If we live for the Lord regardless of our weaknesses, He will crown us and give us a luxurious place to live and many servants to serve us just because of our loyalty to Him.” We can have such faith. How can our King Christ forget about us if we live for Him and for the expansion of His Kingdom with all our strength and heart, while King Wang Gun commemorated the general, who died for him, by making a luxurious gravesite and having the next generations follow his example? The Lord promised that He would make us kings in the new heaven and the new earth when He comes back. Can you imagine how big our reward will be? Loyalty to a king of a country could be remembered several hundred years after it happened; then what will happen to those of us who faithfully served God who is above all and eternal? We will be remembered forever.
The general as a human being was supposed to die sometime whether in the war or in his sick bed. But he chose to die for his king, and he is treated with honor and praise. When we live for our Lord, we will receive even greater reward than his. Even though we may not be as courageous and faithful as General Seung-gyum Shin, we are certainly living for Christ our King. We have done so, and we will always live for Jesus Christ until the end of our days. I believe the Lord will clothe us with glory just for that reason. The glory will be so magnificent. That is why the Apostle Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). I want you to believe that the sufferings in this world are only temporary, but the tremendous glory will last forever. I believe that God will grant us such glory.
Even though we are so insufficient, I am certain that God will let us share His glory just because we lived for Him; just because we lived for preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit and spreading the righteousness of God. We distribute the mission books, publish them, offer our material things for the work, make and spend money for the Lord, send out emails all day, make three meals a day for the workers, run errands, mop the floor and steps, and start a fire for the workers every morning when it is cold. Isn’t that all? No. Anyway, we have lived for the glory of God whether we drink or eat. For that reason only, God will give us reward no matter how well we did our job. And He will acknowledge us as shrewd servants.
Do You Have Faith in the Righteousness of God?
My righteousness is all broken and the only thing left with me is the faith in the righteousness of God. I take pride in having God’s righteousness and serve Him with pride. I believe that we, who live with the strength springing from the faith in God’s righteousness, will turn into glorious beings that will receive all the blessings and glory before God on the last day.
When the day comes, God will judge those who intimidate God’s people who live for the righteousness of God on this earth. Among the born-again, for those who bothered and confronted the wise people, God said He would cut each of them in two and appoint them their portion with the hypocrites (Matthew 24:51). The words “to appoint them their portion with the hypocrites” means God will punish them in the same way He will treat those who are not born again. To be blessed, we should live a wise life trusting in the righteousness of God. Anybody who has received the remission of sins should live a wise life.
Since we have received the remission of sins by believing in the righteousness of God, the only thing left for us to do is to live a shrewd life. This means we should do our best in what we are doing at the moment and we should grow in our faith. Shrewd life is listening to God’s Word, giving our heart, thoughts, body, time and money for Him. The righteous live for the glory of God no matter what they drink or eat, no matter what they do, and living with such faith is truly shrewd before God. We will be commended and loved by God when we live this kind of life. We can receive all the blessings God is willing to give us only when we live such a shrewd life. Such life brings joy to the righteous. But if you don’t live for God’s righteousness or the expansion of His Kingdom even after receiving the remission of sins and righteousness of God, you are foolish and just the same as an evil person. Such a person is stupid and evil enough to kick away the golden chance that came to him.
Not being so wise has something to do with the reward in Heaven. It is also related to receiving blessings on this earth. We should not boast our own righteousness, but should realize our insufficiencies and come to God believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has eradicated all our sins. And we should boast the righteousness of God that has enabled us to receive the remission of sins. Only then can we become shrewd before God. We who became God’s children by gaining the righteousness of God ought to live such a shrewd life.
Do we have anything to brag about before God? No matter how long you look for such things, we will not find anything. Some people take pride in their physical strength and righteousness; they say they trust in their fists, shrugging their shoulders. People in the world might have something to boast about, but we, the born-again Christians, do not have anything to boast of before God. If we find something to brag about, that will be the faith in the righteousness of God. That is glorifying God. We can give the glory back to God by believing in the righteousness of God. That is the only time when we have something to boast of by believing in the righteousness of the Christ. I thank God for the fact that we have nothing else to boast about other than Christ Jesus.
You all might have thought about how to live your life and what to live by. We all have experience of being in between the important decisions. You and I chose to step forward by faith in the righteousness of God. Therefore, we cannot go back. We bet our lives on the righteous work of preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the whole wide world. That was the most important and shrewd decision, and what we have to do now is to live the rest of our lives based on the decisions. God has given everything for us to live a shrewd life. God gave us His Church, work place, and grace to live a righteous life. We are well equipped with everything for any circumstances; time wise, and faith wise, and in spiritual, physical and mental sense. Therefore, we should be thankful to God from our heart. As soon as we made up our mind after believing in the righteousness of God, God welcomed us and responded with abundant grace. Actually, we are greatly blessed before God and we have a lot to thank for.
Then What Should We Live for the Rest of Our Lives?
Brothers and sisters, all our sins were remitted by the righteousness of God. Then what can we boast of? If we have anything to boast of, that will be all concerning the righteousness of God. You and I are sinless children of God, who are born again by the water and the Spirit. Brothers and sisters, I want you to boast of Jesus Christ by faith in God’s righteousness: Boast of Jesus Christ in the Church and in the work places where God put you. If you are not in your place and things go wrong because of you, it is not glorifying God but rather embarrassing God. I see many worldly people who leave their work places to go to sauna during the office hours, which is so irresponsible behavior. They might get away with their hypocrisy with plausible lies, but such behaviors in the Church cannot be overlooked by eloquent excuses. For The Lord is watching out for His Church. Therefore, we should not even try to make any excuses or lie in the first place, but be faithful and proud in the tasks that the Lord has assigned us.
Do you think anybody will listen to us if we leave our places in the Church and shout on the street, “I am a righteous person who has received the remission of sins!” Not only will there be nobody listening, but also we will become corrupted by being mingled with the world. That should not happen. The righteous, whether he is smart or not, should be content in doing the assigned work by God. That is the way of living a shrewd life.
As a way of being recognized by God, you have to give God unrighteous mammon so that many sinners can be saved; that is really shrewd way of living. Such person is truly shrewd. There is no distinction of how important each one’s entrusted work is. No matter what the task is, the faithful children of God treat their work sincerely and do the job silently and diligently. And by keeping their entrusted places, the gospel can be preached to the world.
I am a very happy person before God. Because I stay in God’s Church, I can be served in many ways and I can live a blessed life of serving God. This is why I feel always thankful to God. Working under and for God, and not for the world, is such a great blessing. And working with you the righteous also brings me so much joy. There is nothing better than sharing with you and working with you; whether we eat good food, whether we share God’s Word, whether we do the righteous work of God, it is great to be able to collaborate even though we are all insufficient by ourselves. As I get older, I am not as healthy as I was when I was younger but I thank God for my present physical condition which is good enough for serving the gospel. These days, I worry about what if I can’t digest this food, no matter how delicious the food is which I have in front of me. This aging thing makes me sad sometimes. Those of you who are my age may understand that my body reached the age that cannot digest food well and do not have good sense of taste. As time goes by, our bodies get deteriorated.
However, the faith of our inner self becomes stronger and bolder. We who are righteous and shrewd strive to preach the gospel to the world and give our body, mind and heart in spreading the glory of God to the world. I am pleased to think that I have been a small help to Him in expanding His Kingdom on earth. God works through us and keeps everything going as He planned. God will be glorified and our life will be prosperous by faith. And this will continue. Thank God for fulfilling all these things. From now on, we will stay in His Church and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit no matter whether we are smart or not, no matter whether we live or die. I will live by faith in God’s righteousness. I believe you will also live such a life, won’t you?
We are nothing. Attempting to boast our righteousness before God is more laughable than a dayfly trying to brag about his long and wonderful life before men. We are all imperfect and insufficient beings who have nothing to boast about before God. But there is no one who thinks he is less than others. Everybody thinks he is something. Even a beggar on the overpass will get upset when people throw ten cents to him. Even when such a lowly beggar pretends to be something, are we silent because we don’t have anything to brag about? It is because we all know that claiming one’s righteousness is really laughable before God.
There are so many people who constantly worry about filling their stomachs to the full, insisting that living for themselves is the only right way to live. But those of us who are born again by the water and the Spirit do not live just for ourselves. We━the servants of God, His workers and the saints alike—gather money to do the righteous work with unrighteous mammon. We preach the gospel with the mammon. All our life is focused on serving the Lord, revealing His glory and spreading His righteousness to the whole wide world. That is our mission and the way to live a shrewd life.
In big cities like Seoul, there are a lot of professional beggars. A nicely dressed gentleman goes into the men’s room and comes out looking like a beggar. He just came to work. That is how they come to work and start begging on the streets or on bridges in dirty clothes. They are so-called professional beggars. When they are done with their begging for the day, they go back to the men’s room to change their clothes, then drive away to their nice homes. Then who can say they are shrewd for making money without much effort? Are they wise because they make a lot of money, drive a nice car and live in a decent house without the sweat of their brows?
Some newly built church buildings that cost some tens of millions dollars have stunning grandeur. Sometimes they deposit five million dollars in a bank for interest to build up and share the interest among the staff clergies. Sometimes they advertise their church by donating about ten thousand dollars for poor neighbors. Some churches celebrate saving some million dollars in their saving’s account by posting a placard. But how is their life before God? Are they living a shrewd life since they are making a lot of money? Then what is the difference in their life goals from that of professional beggars? Living for materialistic and physical profits apart from the righteousness of God and His glory is truly foolish. Such a life has nothing to do with the gospel. God doesn’t walk with those people.
Truly wise people seek the righteousness of God, devoting themselves to the gospel and acknowledging their insufficiencies. Those who trust in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, preach the gospel to the world, and try hard to expand God’s Kingdom on earth are the ones who really live a shrewd life. God supports us, leads us for doing so, and He works incessantly.
Brothers and sisters, living for God’s righteousness is the shrewdest way of living. Those, who trust in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, deny themselves, and live for God, are truly wise people. This is not our wishful thinking but God’s definition. Didn’t God clearly say that to us? God is telling us it is right for a born again person to find out where he really belongs and to faithfully serve the One who will take him and bless him. The world throws away people when they are not beneficial any more. What can you get from this world after working your entire life for the world? We need to realize the truth and commit our lives to God, who will always embrace us, love us, and welcome us for our loyalty. God will then absolutely show us His grace. When we live for the gospel, God will love us and give us everything. But when we live for ourselves only, God will not bless us even if we have been born again. We, the born-again Christians, should keep in mind that it is shrewd to live for the righteousness of God and we will be blessed multiple folds for such life.
I am not saying that we will receive physical blessings automatically from Heaven. But one thing I can assure you is that we will have peace while living on earth. And we will see and feel the work of God when we live for Him. We will go to His Kingdom in the future after living as a debtor to the gospel in this world. Anybody who realizes this as the greatest blessing is a really shrewd person.
Now we have chosen to live a life of the wise. I believe God will pour His blessings and rewards on us when we live for God, for the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and for the glory of God.