Bread – Affairs

June 12, 2013


Readings for Wednesday, June 12, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Deut. 31:30-32:14; 2 Cor. 11:21b-33; Luke 19:11-27; Psalms 72,119:73-96

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From the single word “affairs,” one might think that this Bread is about sexual temptation. However, it is not. It is about daily affairs.

You know the kind of daily affairs that I am talking about, the kind of daily affairs which translate to “there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for …” 2 Cor. 11:28.

These are the kinds of daily affairs which translate to “daily pressure” and from which arise “anxiety for.” And you must admit, we all suffer from the daily affairs of life which are the daily pressure of life and which result in many, many anxieties and worries.

We tend to trivialize these little matters, but they are not trivial. They occupy much of our day, crowd out gratitude and joy, nag at us from near and far, and cause tension throughout our body, mind, and soul. They are often the tools of Satan’s discouragement, making us doubt whether we are children of God, victorious in everything, persevering in triumph, capable of love of others. These daily affairs grind us down, distract us from our role as ambassadors of Christ, confuse us, and make us feel like we are distant from God and others. These daily affairs support our focus on ourselves, build pride, and give us our false sense of independence from God. These daily affairs, these daily pressures, these sources of anxiety and worry are not trivial.

In today’s reading from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul is trying to demonstrate that, from a worldly measure point of view, he has all of the qualifications to say what he says. In the process, he lists a lot of problems he has faced. Here is his list:

“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” 2 Cor. 11:24-27.

In other words, Paul reports suffering many near death experiences, being beat up, at severe risk of loss, tortured and starving, among other things. We would treat each of these as a major life event and we would give thanks to God for bringing us through these life events more or less intact. We would consider survival of these things proof of God’s grace and mercy in our lives. And we would be right, and wrong.

Because Paul does not see these things as the major things in his life. Instead, Paul sees the daily affairs as the major things because, following his litany of trials, Paul ends this way – “And, apart from [these] other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all of the churches.” 2 Cor. 11:28

Apart from all that, I (Paul) have to worry about the things in my daily life over which I have been appointed by God.

So, Paul, the great man of faith to whom Jesus appeared personally, the author of much of the New Testament, has anxiety, has worries, feels daily pressure, has to confront his daily affairs.

Our reading today from Luke is about the talents (minas). Most of what I always remember from this parable is the guy who buried his talent in dirt and then Jesus got mad at him for not at least investing it in the bank so it could earn interest.

Our days are gifts from God. They are our talents, our minas. Are we investing them with eternity in mind, focused on earning a profit for the kingdom of God? Or are we all tied up in our daily affairs, bearing our daily pressures and our anxieties?

While Paul recognized these burdens as such with no attempt to diminish their influence on how he spent his day, he also recognized them as something which should occupy very little of his time or attention. He was about investing his day productively for the kingdom, not about investing his energies recovering from his daily pressures.

Daily affairs – burden or opportunity? Today, will you bury your time in the ground out of anxiety or will you invest it for kingdom return? Each day, the choice is ours. How choose you?

________________

© 2013 GBF

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