Friday, December 23, 2016

Romans 3:9-12 -- On Profitability

"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Romans 3:9-12

The idea here that we are not better than anyone, or righteous, or good, and are essentially "unprofitable servants" (Luke 17:10) is an interesting one.  In the corporate world we get wrapped up in return on investment... is the money, or effort, or time that we are putting into something actually making us more money or benefiting the company in another way?  Are we making customers happy, improving our brand, or able to recruit and retain great employees?  ... And, of course, if something isn't profitable in *any* way, then we get rid of it.

In our daily lives sometimes we think of things this way as well.  We sell off property that isn't doing the service that we wanted it to, and occasionally if a relationship isn't providing some benefit to us, maybe we think of it similarly.  The sort of mercenary "what have you done for me lately" type idea.  The analogy that God uses here about unprofitability applies to us in a business sense and in a personal sense.  As servants/employees, not one of us is returning more value to the community than God has invested in us.  If God were our CEO, we'd be out on our butts.  And in terms of measuring the usefulness of a relationship (despite the scariness of that kind of selfish measurement)... if God were measuring how useful we are to him as friends/minions/sycophants, we'd also be kicked to the curb.  That's part of the reason that we're "less than the dust of the earth" (Helaman 12:7).

Luckily, even though we are unprofitable and often lazy and useless as servants, God doesn't judge us by whether we are returning on his investment or by how much we've done for him.  He looks at us as our Father, knowing our potential, and loving us despite our weakness relative to dust. :)  Today, perhaps we should return the favor, remembering that God isn't *our* employee either, and that even if he doesn't do exactly what we want, he does love us, and is working to help us.  It's about love, not about what we can get out of it.  And if we've gone astray, let's also remember that just like the prodigal son who wasted everything that his Father gave him, God will welcome us home anyway.  We are his children, not assets on a balance sheet.

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