Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

The Psalmist says to “Enjoy the LORD, and he will give what your heart asks” (Psalm 37:4).

What does your heart ask today? What is your desire?

Hold that thought as we explore this week’s theme of wisdom and wealth.

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Jesus also said to the disciples, “A certain rich man heard that his household manager was wasting his estate. He called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give me a report of your administration because you can no longer serve as my manager.’

“The household manager said to himself, What will I do now that my master is firing me as his manager? I’m not strong enough to dig and too proud to beg. I know what I’ll do so that, when I am removed from my management position, people will welcome me into their houses.

“One by one, the manager sent for each person who owed his master money. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil.’ The manager said to him, ‘Take your contract, sit down quickly, and write four hundred fifty gallons.’ Then the manager said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘One thousand bushels of wheat.’ He said, ‘Take your contract and write eight hundred.’”

Luke 16:1-7

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Mercy is an act of grace or unmerited favor when other options are available and seem more appealing. It’s taking your foot off the neck of someone when, by every standard of this world, they deserve to be crushed. Mercy is a characteristic of mature Christians. It’s not easy, and it’s not consistent with the messages of today’s world — to hit back hard, to wall ourselves off from the undeserving.

I think we have to work at and develop a merciful orientation. In today’s verses, Jesus tells a story of a disgruntled master who’s about to fire his manager. The manager worries for his well-being and decides to show mercy to the master’s debtors, hoping they’ll care for him in the future. This seems self-serving, but the act itself is merciful.

While I’m not suggesting that you be self-centered in your motivations, I am thinking that some of us might need to practice mercy. We may need to look for those relationships where we could apply mercy, to practice being more like Jesus. Whom could you be merciful to today?

Bill Ogletree

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God, your wisdom exceeds anything I can imagine. You showed me mercy through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Help me to practice mercy until it’s second nature. Make me more like Jesus. Amen.

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What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine.

James 3:17

Leave this time sharing God’s wisdom today.

Bill Ogletree

Billy T. Ogletree is a professor at Western Carolina University. He is forever grateful for the love of his wife and two adult children and appreciates little more than living in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. Dr. Ogletree is the author of the 2018 book Mean Christianity: Finding Our Way Back to Christ’s Likeness available through Wipf and Stock, Amazon, Kindle, and Audible.

Rêverie, L. 68

Garry Bailey

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