Day 105

How to Avoid the Titanic Mistake

Wisdom Proverbs 9:13–18
New Testament Luke 16:1–18
Old Testament Deuteronomy 21:1–22:30


James Cameron, director of the movie Titanic, describes the Titanic as a ‘metaphor’ of life: ‘We are all living on… [the] Titanic.’

When the Titanic set sail in 1912, it was declared to be ‘unsinkable’ because it was constructed using a new technology. The ship’s hull was divided into sixteen watertight compartments. Up to four of these compartments could be damaged or even flooded, and still the ship would float.

Tragically, the Titanic sank on 15 April 1912 at 2.20 am. 1,513 people lost their lives. At the time, it was thought that five of its watertight compartments had been ruptured in a collision with an iceberg.

However, on 1 September 1985, when the wreck of the Titanic was found lying upright on the ocean floor, there was no sign of the long gash previously thought to have been ripped in the ship’s hull. What they discovered was that damage to one compartment affected all the rest.

Many people make the Titanic mistake. They think they can divide their lives into different ‘compartments’ and that what they do in one will not affect the rest. However, as Rick Warren (from whom I have taken this illustration) says, ‘A life of integrity is one that is not divided into compartments.’

David prayed for ‘an undivided heart’ (Psalm 86:11). He led the people with ‘integrity of heart’ (78:72). Supremely, Jesus was a ‘man of integrity’ (Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14). How can you and I avoid the Titanic mistake and live lives of integrity?


Proverbs 9:13–18

13 Folly is an unruly woman;
   she is simple and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house,
   on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who pass by,
   who go straight on their way,
   16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
   17 “Stolen water is sweet;
   food eaten in secret is delicious! ”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
   that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.


Integrity in relationships

It is not easy to lead a life of integrity in relationships. Temptations abound and the lure is strong: ‘The woman Folly is loud’ (v.13a), ‘calling out’ (v.15a), ‘come in here!’ (v.16a). She says, ‘Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!’ (v.17).

Yet this is a total deception. Why should ‘stolen’ water be sweet or food eaten ‘in secret’ be delicious? In fact, unfaithfulness leads to a deadening of the spirit: ‘But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave’ (v.18).

The apostle Paul writes that if you set your mind on what your sinful nature desires it leads to death, ‘but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6).


Lord, by your Spirit, help me to live a life of integrity, rooting out secret sin and living a life that is authentic and faithful.

New Testament

Luke 16:1–18

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

6 “‘Three thousand litres of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifteen hundred.’

7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘Thirty tons of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it twenty-four.’

8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

Additional Teachings

16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


Integrity with money

Jesus spoke about money more than virtually any other subject (including prayer and heaven). Twelve out of his thirty-eight parables are about money or possessions. As Billy Graham put it, ‘If a person gets their attitude towards money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in their life.’

In today’s passage, Jesus teaches us how to get a right view of money. He starts with the rather strange parable of the dishonest manager, who is commended for his shrewdness.

1. Money is a tool

The people of this world are often more sensible, thoughtful, prudent and wise than the people of God in understanding that money is a tool. The dishonest manager is commended for his shrewdness in seeing this. The reality is that money can be a tool for eternal benefit. ‘I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings’ (v.9).

Jesus taught on the wonder of being with him for eternity in the parables of the great banquet (14:15–24) and the prodigal son (15:11–32). Here, we are reminded that the use of our money on earth can have eternal consequences. One of Jesus’ primary concerns was to see the good news of the kingdom of God being preached (16:16). Your money can be used to see God’s rule and reign coming into people’s lives – with eternal consequences.

2. Money is a test

Jesus is not commending the dishonest manager for his dishonesty. Indeed, the opposite is the case. He goes on to say, ‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?’ (vv.10–11).

Be an honest and trustworthy steward of everything God has given you, including your money. The more trustworthy you are with money, the more God will give you ‘true riches’.

3. Money is a threat

Jesus says, ‘No one can be a slave to two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot be a slave to both God and Money’ (v.13). As Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, ‘Our hearts have room for only one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord.’

Money is to be used, but not loved. Don’t love money and use people. Love people and use money.

The threat is that love of money leads to hatred of God (v.13). The Pharisees loved money (they were ‘money-obsessed’, MSG) and sneered at Jesus (v.14). Have the opposite attitude to money. ‘Despise’ it (v.13). In other words, treat it with contempt by giving generously and focusing your love not on money, but on God who ‘knows your hearts’ (v.15).


Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to labour and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen. (Prayer of St Ignatius)

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 21:1–22:30

Atonement for an Unsolved Murder

21 If someone is found slain, lying in a field in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who the killer was, 2 your elders and judges shall go out and measure the distance from the body to the neighbouring towns. 3 Then the elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked and has never worn a yoke 4 and lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer’s neck. 5 The Levitical priests shall step forward, for the LORD your God has chosen them to minister and to pronounce blessings in the name of the LORD and to decide all cases of dispute and assault. 6 Then all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, 7 and they shall declare: “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. 8 Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, LORD, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.” Then the bloodshed will be atoned for, 9 and you will have purged from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the LORD.

Marrying a Captive Woman

10 When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonoured her.

The Right of the Firstborn

15 If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, 16 when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. 17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.

A Rebellious Son

18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

Various Laws

22 If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, 23 you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

22 If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. 2 If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. 3 Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it.

4 If you see your fellow Israelite’s donkey or ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help the owner get it to its feet.

5 A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.

6 If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. 7 You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.

8 When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.

9 Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.

10 Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.

11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.

12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.

Marriage Violations

13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her , dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” 15 then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. 16 Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbour, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

30 A man is not to marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonour his father’s bed.


Integrity of lifestyle

Many of these laws were temporary in purpose. For example, the food laws and so on were symbolic. They educated the people of God in the pursuit of purity.

Others, however shocking they may seem to us, are surprisingly advanced for the standards of the time. For example, there are limits put on how a captive woman can be treated (21:10–14); she must not be dishonoured or humiliated (v.14).

There is to be honour in sexual relationships. God is concerned about premarital sex, promiscuity (22:21), adultery (v.22), rape (vv.25–27), and incest (v.30). As we saw in today’s New Testament passage, Jesus himself spoke strongly about the need for marriage vows to be honoured (Luke 16:18).

God is also concerned about protecting the vulnerable. Rape is always a horrible crime, but in ancient societies it could also lessen a woman’s chances of marrying. This is the context behind the obligation for a rapist to pay compensation, and to marry the woman in question (Deuteronomy 22:29). However, in the equivalent passage in Exodus 22:17 it is made clear that this does not mean that the woman has to marry the man. This law is designed to protect rape victims – not add forced marriage to their suffering.

Consideration is to be shown to neighbours (Deuteronomy 22:1–3). It is not enough to do no harm to your neighbour. Positively do them good. Ignoring those in need is wrong: ‘Don’t look the other way as if you didn’t see it’ (v.3, MSG).

We see the beginnings here of what our English law came to describe as ‘a duty of care’ towards our neighbour. Make sure that your property (home, car, bike and so on) is safe and not likely to cause harm to your neighbour. ‘Make it safe’ (v.8, MSG).

I find all of today’s passages very challenging. I know I fall short in many of these areas. I have often failed. Is there any hope?

In the middle of all these laws comes a clue: ‘Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse’ (21:23). Paul quotes this verse in Galatians and explains its significance to us. Everyone who fails to keep all the law of God is under a curse – this is the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10). However, the wonderful news is that Jesus took the curse on himself on our behalf on the cross (‘the tree’).

‘He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse’ (v.13, MSG). As a result, all of us are now able to receive, by faith, the promise of the Holy Spirit (v.14).

My failure to live a life of total integrity means that I have failed to keep the law. I would therefore be under God’s curse. But Jesus became a curse for me on the cross. Hanging on the tree he took God’s curse upon himself for you and me so that we can be redeemed, set free and receive the promise of the Spirit to enable us to begin to lead lives of complete integrity.


Lord, thank you that you died for me so that I might be forgiven and receive the gift of your Holy Spirit. By your Spirit help me to live a life of integrity of heart.

Pippa adds

In Luke 16:10 it says, ‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.'

How we deal with even the smallest things really does matter. We might think no one will notice or mind, but Jesus sees everything and is looking for reliable, trustworthy people.



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Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Macmillan Books, 1970) p.196

James Rampton, ‘James Cameron: My Titanic obsession’, The Independent, Monday 8 August 2005.

Rick Warren, Daily Hope with Rick Warren, ‘Take the First Step to Integrity’ November 2014, accessed via:

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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