Hebrews 4: 12b – 16
MARK 10: 17-31
October 14, 2018
It’s a question that challenges every one of us … probably it’s a question that comes to mind if not into our conversations almost daily. I know that it is a frequent question on Sunday mornings either before church, after church or sometimes during church. And, in my limited life experience it is a question that is universal.
What are we doing today? What are we doing after church? What are the plans for the weekend? Do you know what we are going to do later? What are we going to eat?
I guess the truth is we are talking about a variety of questions with one simple theme. How in the world are we going to use our time? With the secondary element for those of us who might not be stepping out into the future alone … what is the activity that the group I am part of should do together that will please everyone? Or perhaps its are we going to do the same thing we always do because that’s the easiest answer.
As I look out on your beautiful and handsome faces this morning while imagining all the beautiful and handsome faces watching our service over the internet I have no way of knowing which amongst you are the great compromisers … the ones who almost always defer to the others in the group. You know who you are … your family or the group you are part of all want to just get pizza tonight for dinner while you are longing for some Kimchi. Yea … I see the Kimchi lovers nodding their heads. You’re probably dreaming of some roasted hot honey shrimp with bok choy along with your fermented kimchi right now or perhaps some Samgyupsal gui grilled to perfection as your kimchi’s partner … ahh but you’ll give in to the pizza instead.
And, then I am sure that amongst this wonderful gathering of attentive worshipers are those who always get their way whether or not it is done consciously or subliminally … I know that my daughter Colleen has attempted to get me to ingest cauliflower by disguising it in every way possible way but one small tasting and it is removed from my presence … I am the controlling voice that has determined that never shall that whitish colored thing people refer to as food be the sole choice at our family dinners and it is never allowed on my dinner plate. So, I guess I get my way in that regard.
So, what do food choices and time options have to do with pocket change and today’s readings from the Word of God? Well, as I looked again at today’s familiar Gospel reading I was pulled almost without control to the Gospel of Luke’s merging of chapter 20 with chapter 21. You can read these chapters later yourself but chapter 20 deals with religious leaders challenges to Jesus and as I slowly read those passages two things related to today’s Gospel message and to pocket change resonated to me.
The first, is Jesus quoting Psalm 118 to make a clear statement about rejecting the Messiah … “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” quoted our Savior as his point of emphasis in a parable told to teachers of the law and high priests. You might want to add that to your reading list as well because that Psalm teaches us a lesson that is a parallel to my message this morning. P-S-A-L-M 118 it’s right in the middle of Bibles that are printed but you can just Google it or check your online index.
Friends, as I have often noted, we are amongst the fortunate human beings in this world … we are those who have chosen or perhaps had someone choose for us … who have chosen to be in church this morning or at whatever time of day you are watching this service online. That means we understand at least at a basic level the reality of God … God’s very existence; God’s power; and God’s love, which is especially clear to those choosing this church because we thank God for God’s grace … God’s love … that God extends to all humanity. God brought us Jesus … the great teacher of God’s expectation in life for those who accept God’s reality and existence but we know … we know church that Jesus was more than a great rabbi … whether you are sitting in the front or the back today … Jesus is Savior … Jesus took our sins to the cross … Jesus Christ the Son of God beat back death on Easter morning we join churches around the world declaring HE IS RISEN <<He is Risen Indeed>>. Believe … change your life and follow Jesus … such a blessing!
You see, we have within our awareness the knowledge of Jesus. Just as I did when I was beginning to consider today’s worship service … you too can turn to the words of Jesus Christ easily and freely to discover the truth of God’s message to humanity. In fact I am sure all of you have added a Bible application to your Smart Phones and to your children’s Smart Phones so that you always have a Bible with you. We … I sure hope you are in the we group because this church family is one that I celebrate as a community that can declare any day of the week that WE BELIEVE that Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives and of our faith. Others may reject Him but we embrace Jesus’ love.
And, as I finished reading chapter 20 of Luke again I noticed those first four verses of chapter 21 and a light went on … connecting me back to the Scripture chosen for today from Mark’s Gospel. There in those first four verses was a reminder that there is value in what we might consider pocket change … let me read those verses to you <<READ LUKE 21:1-4>>.
Friends, when the rich man came to Jesus bragging about what a perfect man he was … oh, he said “I have kept each of those TOP TEN Commandments ever since I was a boy … I am so perfect Jesus and know the letter of the laws backward and forward; I am more than deserving of that eternal life you are talking about so tell me what I can do to guarantee it. I am sure I have some pocket change to cover the bill.”
Jesus in noticing the poor widow place her two coins … with deliberation … with a sense of awe of God … giving what she had; what she had to live on … Jesus proclaimed that “she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she has to live on” to God.
So friends … so brothers and sisters in Christ … viewers on Facebook or on the Internet … today’s message isn’t about financial assessment or percentage … it’s not about the coinage in our pocket … today’s message is about giving up value for God and perhaps asserting that all too many church attenders choose to only give the left over time in their lives if there is any … the pocket change of time is all that God receives because the other choices matter more.
The rich young man could not buy his Salvation nor could he simply check off a list of really egregious sins that he avoided at least in his own mind … we all know Jesus clarified how God sees those laws and that even when our mind takes us into those areas we have committed the sin but that’s a lesson for another day. This young man wanted a very simple easy to take on answer … pocket change something that wasn’t valued but Jesus taught him and us that its easy to say I believe … its easy to contribute the right amount of coinage to be accepted into a club but to be a member .. to truly show that your life revolves around the name emblazoned on your polo shirt, your WWJD bracelet, or the cross hanging on your neck … you have to change.
And, Jesus knew what mattered most to this man. He, like all too many today, was all about his wealth … his bank account and 401k … his bling, his tax cuts, and his Lexus that a valet had parked for him so he could have this little chat with JESUS. He treasured his mansions … his incredibly crystal clear high definition televisions that covered almost every wall in his home … the fact that he could get into every concert venue by flashing his cash … Money was his middle name and he showcased it right down to his shoes designed by Jason of Beverly Hills and his diamond studded Rolex. “GIVE IT ALL UP DUDE,” Jesus told him … “in fact, you lack one thing you love your money so give it up to the poor because you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”
Now, the only person here I know with a Rolex diamond studded watch and chauffeur is FISH, Dave Fish so wealth is not what we are about nor was it what his disciples were about. In fact, as they watched this young man’s face drop and as he walked back to the valet station to get his car of luxury with great sadness because he knew he worshiped his wealth and couldn’t give it up they smiled amongst themselves as Jesus said “how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Perhaps thinking Jesus would affirm them they asked each other “who can be saved” and Jesus said, “it’s impossible with human beings but not with God.” Peter quickly said we have given up everything to follow you … but Jesus was quick to present a challenge that was in our Gospel reading.
So, today I am here to make you think about the time you possess. The choices you make. Are you giving Jesus the pocket change … the leftovers … are your priorities invested in calendar items that are worth pushing God off for the spare minute or two that might become available later on? In our era of time as I watch young people being over scheduled … as I listen to people unable to take on mission trips … as I see youth groups and Bible studies shrinking from church to church … I believe that if the majority of good church going people were to meet up with Jesus and ask “what must I do to inherit eternal life …” His universal response would be “One thing you lack … cancel your appointments, throw out your calendar … find time for me; find time for your God.” Don’t give us your pocket change of life.
So when you leave here this morning thinking yes I can enjoy some Chimaek today for dinner … “draw near to the throne of God’s favor with confidence knowing you will receive mercy and find grace when you need help” and start to readjust your schedule to add some God time amidst your Kimchi. God is clearly worth more than a pocket change investment from each of us.
Just a reminder those two added Scriptures I read … Luke chapters 20 and 21 and Psalm 118. In case you have a spare moment or two to check God’s Word out on your Smart Phone.
Watch a video of today’s worship service: