Going Deeper 8-9-2019

The Gospel reading for Pentecost 9...
Luke 12:32-40   "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give alms.  Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them.  If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.  But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

Once again Jesus teaches something that does not sit well with the mindset of our materialistic culture.  Sure, we love the first verse, the part about our Father taking pleasure in giving us the kingdom.  This is grace.  This is a gift.  We love gifts.  
The challenge comes right away in Jesus' description of how we are to respond to this gift.  We are to let go of everything.  Nothing is to be more important or valuable to us than being prepared for the coming of "the Son of Man."  And at the very core of being prepared is our being transformed in heart and mind and spirit to become more and more like Jesus, full of love and compassion and generosity and grace.

Perhaps you have noticed-- the only thing that Jesus teaches more about than the danger of loving money is the nature of His continually coming kingdom.  Why?  Can't Jesus just let us enjoy the good things in life?  Why are we constantly being warned about desiring and enjoying stuff?

The answer is hard to believe, but nonetheless true: the pursuit of more money and more stuff can consume us, and we fail to perceive that we were actually created to be givers, not getters.  We've been lied to over and over and over again-- the best things in life are not found in gaining more and more for ourselves and living in luxury.  The best thing in life is experiencing the joy and meaningfulness of significantly contributing to the lives of others.  Again, this is how we were created to live... outwardly focused, not inwardly.

You see, Jesus is not a killjoy!!  Quite the opposite.  In His own words, Jesus came so that we "may have life, and have it abundantly."  He then modeled what that looks like-- loving and caring for others, generously giving of the time, talent, and treasure God has gifted to us.  Ah... that is the good life!!

Serving with You,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."