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Don’t waste time on wrong assumptions

It’s easy to make assumptions, says Dave Newton, but what happens when we discover those we make are actually false?

We have certainly had some of our long-held assumptions challenged over the past year.

Whether it has been our assumption that you can have a church service without corporate singing, or that we can have a physical church service at all.

Or we will always have the freedom to visit friends and family, and our local supermarket without being masked.

Many of our rights, privileges and commonly held assumptions about what it means to simply be ourselves have had to be reimagined.

Assumptions are often unconscious thoughts that govern the decisions we make and the way we live our lives; untested ideas that we believe to be true which often result in an investment of our time, energy and resources.

For example, we assume we will be able to get our hair cut when needed, so give little thought to it.

The problem often occurs when we discover an assumption to be false; when we realise we have been wasting our time or investing our energy in the wrong place.

Luke 19 records a story that Jesus told his followers about a businessman who entrusts his managers with a certain amount of money. When he returns from his travels, he asked each man what they had done with the resources they had been given.

The first and second men had invested and increased the money significantly, and are praised and rewarded by the businessman.

The third man acts out of fear; not wanting to lose the money given to him, he hides it safely to preserve the original amount.

When he returns the money with no increase he is described by his master as a wicked servant.

On the surface, you can be mistaken for thinking that the master is really harsh. After all, the servant has fully returned what was entrusted to his care.

The Gospel writer, in helping us understand what the kingdom of God is all about, is trying to challenge a commonly held assumption: the assumption that the things we have been given to steward in life are ours to do what we want with.

The readers are encouraged to consider the possibility that we don’t own anything, we are simply temporary caretakers for the real owner, God himself.

The reality is that none of us was born with any costly possessions, and we won’t leave the earth with any either, as we are not permanent residents on this earth.

We are not homeowners – we are tenants, camping, and simply passing through.

There is a danger that we cling to the gifts that we have been given; to the time, energy, skills, intellect or resources, for our own benefit, enjoyment or personal gain, rather than using what we have been given to benefit the Master’s kingdom business.

Perhaps this has been compounded all the more as many have spent the last twelve months isolated from others, and it is even easier to become consumed with ourselves.

So as we embark on the road out of lockdown let me pose some simple questions:
How would your daily life change if you really believed you were a steward of God’s gifts, rather than an owner of them?

How would you live differently if you knew you had to give an account of your investment?

For example, your choice of words, use of time, development of relationships and deployment of talents?

How much money, time and energy do you spend on others, compared to yourself?

It is important that you don’t waste the resources you have been entrusted with based on wrong assumptions.

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