Thursday, June 25, 2020

June 25 – Thursday prior to Proper 8

Matthew 10:34-42 –Jesus calls upon his disciples to love him above all others. Matthew continues in this lesson with the price of discipleship. In verses 34-36, Jesus declares that His coming will cause dissension in families because disciples will love Him more than any member of the family. In verses 37-39, Jesus calls upon His disciples to take up the cross and to lose themselves in His cause. To those who do this, Jesus promises rewards (verses 40-42). In this passage, we have the cost and reward of discipleship.

There are many rewards — reward of a prophet, or a righteous man, of a spokesperson and ambassador of Christ. “He who receives you receives me.” To accept a follower of Christ is to accept Jesus; to help a disciple is to help Christ. To reject a disciple is to reject Christ. What a high honor to be a surrogate of Christ!

The pattern of Christ’s suffering is the outline of ministry. Found in the words of John the Baptizer who said, “He must increase while I must decrease.”- John 3:30

In her book “Generation Me” author Jean Twenge put it this way, “In many ways, there’s no better time to be alive than right now. Think of all the advantages we have that earlier generations did not: television, cell phones, better medical care, computers, more education, less physical labor, the freedom to make our own choices, the ability to move to a more desirable city. These last two, however, begin to hint at the underlying problem. Our growing tendency to put the self-first leads to unparalleled freedom, but it also creates an enormous amount of pressure on us to stand alone.”

It really isn’t about you. It’s always about Jesus.  All too often, we forget that the invisible God is working things out according to His purpose. Not yours. God is free to do as He pleases. He owes no one anything. And yet… And yet, He chose to redeem you. He chose to send Jesus into your world. Into time and space. To become your substitute. To live a perfect life for you. To bear your sin. To die your death. To rise again. To make you His own. And place His Spirit inside of you. To endow you with gifts. So you can be a sermon in shoes. So you can be His witness in this generation.
This tells us that grace alone will make and keep you with Jesus. Your status in this life is not dependent on what you do. It is decided by whose you are. You are in Christ. Therefore, you can choose to do anything you want in this life. You are free. You are free to be anything you want. You can be a butcher, a baker, a candle maker. You are free to be cop a teacher or a farmer. You are free to be a line cook at a greasy spoon or a garbage man. You are free to be a truck driver, a plastic surgeon or stay at home mom.  Whatever your hand finds it to do…do it with all your might.” - Ecclesiastes 9:10 

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord.” - Colossians 3:17  

Remember the Service Master cleaning service. In all you do - you are rendering service to the Master. What you do is a reflection of who you are. 

Collect for Proper 8O Almighty God, by the working of Your Holy Spirit grant that we may gladly hear Your Word proclaimed among us and follow it’s directing; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Heavenly Father, grant Your mercy and grace to Your people in their many and various callings. Give them patience, and strengthen them in their Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to their neighbor in Christ’s name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Image ‘With all your heart,’ copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
Generation Me by Jean Twenge, PhD © 2006 Simon & Schuster
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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