When we realize that God’s creation is not given to us to be used and abused but rather to be enjoyed, to be celebrated, to be seen as our connection to a world larger than us, everything changes.
August 7, 2022
“Lessons From the Gospel of Luke”
Luke 12: 32-40
Rev. Dr. Heather W. McColl
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 hour you do not expect.”
Be Ready Luke 12: 32-40
After a week of being away, and after a week where we as a community of faith said goodbye to two of our own, I was sitting down in my office, looking at the scripture for today. And all I could think about was…I came back to this?! I came back, we came back to a text which talks about thieves in the night, to a text which compels us to sell everything, to a text which appears to not speak emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally to where we are as a community of faith.
Maybe that first line. That whole part of “Do not be afraid, little flock” but the rest of it…just isn’t speaking to me at this time.
Or so I thought…as the week went on, this text continued to invite me to not dismiss it so quickly. Taken in context, these verses remind us that we as Jesus’ disciples are called to a different way… a different way of being in relationship with one another, a different way of viewing God’s creation, a different way of understanding community.
In the verses right before our text, “Jesus has just spoken (in 12:22-31) about trusting God while also seeking (or striving for) the “kingdom”; now he reminds everyone that the point isn’t to coax a grumpy or frugal deity into being nice to us. Rather, God eagerly wants the “kingdom” — a whole new set of affairs reflecting God’s intentions for human flourishing — to take root in the real, lived experiences of Jesus’s followers.” (Matt Skinner)
Because once this viewpoint of connection and community is our center, everything changes. We realize that what we have is not ours to own exclusively. Rather it is to be shared for the building up of the Body of Christ here on Earth. When we realize that God’s creation is not given to us to be used and abused but rather to be enjoyed, to be celebrated, to be seen as our connection to a world larger than us, everything changes. When we realize that power and greed are not what rule or control us any longer but rather love and grace, then we begin to see people differently. No longer are they objects to be used for our gain. We see them, we see all as our brothers and sisters, as ones created in the image of God.
What Jesus is talking about in this text is a mindset. “When Jesus declares “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” he says that we can train our wills and our ways of thinking (for that is what the heart symbolized in his culture) through the ways we use our money. Spend it all on yourself, guess where your heart will go. Give it to those in need, your heart will go where God wants it to go. Moreover, your heart will find God in the process.” (Matt Skinner)
Or let me say it this way…After this incredibly tough week for our community of faith, and after two years of trying to figure out what was going on while everything was changing, and after realizing that what we did as a church pre pandemic no longer works and wondering if we have the energy to engage our community in new ways, I will be the first to admit that I am tired. I am worn out.
In this state of emotional exhaustion, It would be easy for us to give up, to say that the death and darkness are too much right now, that it would be easy for us to say faith is pointless in face of all the hurt and brokenness right now…But I would argue stating those things would miss the point.
In our text for this morning, Jesus reminds us that our faith is not a Pollyanna, bury our heads in the sand kind of thing. Jesus isn’t telling us to ignore the chaos, to block out the pain, to disconnect ourselves from the brokenness which surrounds us. Rather, with his words in our text this morning, Jesus reminds us that we know our God is faithful, that we know our God is steadfast, that we know our God is walking beside us through all things and in all things.
Through his words this morning, Jesus is reminding us to be ready because we never know how the Kingdom of God will meet us, will invite us to encounter God already at work in our midst. Jesus is reminding us that the Kingdom of God is already here, waiting for us to open our hearts, to open our minds to where God’s love and grace are already bringing about healing and wholeness for God’s people here and now.
So maybe I should take my own advice…and remember the Kingdom of God is not about us fixing what is broken immediately, wearing ourselves out to the point we walk away when it all becomes too much. Rather the Kingdom of God is an invitation for us to be ready, to open to what God is already doing in our midst. The Kingdom of God is an opportunity simply waiting for us to experience the love and grace already at work in our world. The Kingdom of God is an invitation to find God’s presence already surrounding us in the process, always strengthening us, always encouraging us, always renewing us for ministry at hand. May it be so.
Be Ready Luke 12: 32-40
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