Today is the commemoration of Emperor Justinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ.
Today's readings are Psalm 53, Jeremiah 29:1-19, and Matthew 26:36-56.
I know there are a lot of people these days for whom the idea of a "wartime mentality" about Christianity has become a watchword. By this they mean taking care to use our resources aggressively to promote the Gospel. They intend that Christians should avoid putting too much time and resource into long-term development of their assets, retirement portfolios, caring for their homes and grounds, and working on sinking that perfect putt.
There's something to be said, really quite a lot to be said, for taking the Gospel seriously. We are engaged in a spiritual battle with eternal consequences. But does this preclude planting flower gardens? Does it mean that Christians should not spend their leisure time reading and even writing great books? Does it mean that all Christians should essentially take a vow of poverty in order to use all the resources God has given them to engage in ministry?
The crux of the matter is what we consider "ministry" to be. If it means engaging in our vocation, given us by our Lord, which effectively loves and serves our neighbor, yes, we are all to be engaged in that, or rather in those, for we have many vocations, all the time. Yet part of that vocation is beautifying the surroundings we have. Part of the vocation is spending time with friends, building them up, showing love for them. Part of that vocation is saving money and gathering resources to provide for ourselves later in life and to leave to our heirs. Consider what God says to his people in exile. They are prisoners. What are they to do? They are to earn money, invest in livestock and real estate, and make themselves at home. He'll come to rescue them and they can sell out then to move back to the land of promise.
May the Lord keep us busy about using the blessings he has given us.