Sunday, June 12, 2011

Faithful Much?

Scripture:  Matthew 19-Matthew 21

Observation:  So, from teaching about Divorce to Palm Sunday today’s reading seemed to be a lot about faithfulness!  Faithfulness to each other.  Faithfulness to God.  Faithfulness to authority.  What really surprised me though was my reactions to the two stories about fairness—when Jesus said that everyone would get into the kingdom—even if they came late.  I’m talking about the story of the vineyard workers in 20:1-16 and 21:28-32.  That God loves everyone—and that those who only praise God with their lips will have problems.  But those who denounce for a while, and then come will have a place.  Is that how we treat people?  Or do we only believe “Good people” are worth our love?

Application:  When I was a little girl, my mother tells stories of how worried I was about things being fair.  She tells a story of me counting Christmas presents one year and being mad that Sarah got one more than I did.  Since then she ALWAYS gives us the same number.  But our God is good and merciful and loving and perfect, but not always fair.  My Dad often says, “Fair is a place you go to ride rides and see shows”.  God loves us and will take us when we turn to him with our lips and our eyes.  Its not my job to judge others, its my job to love them and witness to them.  Its my job to help them turn to Christ—with all that they are.  So, I’m ready to go find new workers for the kingdom.  Are you?

Prayer:  Spirit of Truth—Remind me today to be faithful to your word, your will, and your way.  Remind me to love instead of judge and pray instead of persecute.  Remind me that you are merciful not fair.  That you call me to be faithful, not jealous.  Thank you for all I have, all I am, and all I will be.  Amen.

Blessings!
Pastor Emily

June 13-- Matthew 22-Matthew 24
June 14-- Matthew 25-Matthew 27
June 15-- Matthew 28
June 16-- Mark 1-Mark 3
June 17-- Mark 4-Mark 6
June 18-- Mark 7- Mark 9
June 19-- Mark 10- Mark 12

12 comments:

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

I was a "latecomer" and am so blessed to be working in his vineyard!
Yes, it is not our place to judge, but to love. I love the Casting Crowns lyrics: "Jesus paid much too high a price for us to pick and choose who should come and we are the Body of Christ".
May we all seek new workers for the kingdom!

Lindsay said...

The part that stuck out to me was the serving... putting ourselves last. If we want to be great in the kingdom of heaven, we must ourselves last.

I like serving, but it's hard for me to get into the 100% service mode. Jesus doesn't call me to serve just when I'm doing a "service project". He calls me to serve with my life. My life right now is being a wife and a mother. And I can do a lot of serving in these roles... making dinner, cleaning house, changing diapers, washing dishes, running errands, helping in house projects... this list goes on and on. To me, this service provides me with a great opportunity to serve God and my family. The key is my attitude. Am I grumbling that "it's not fair" like the first vineyard workers??? Or am I joyfully following Jesus and serving my husband and daughter because I want to do it as an act of worship??? It depends on the day, but I know that I get more joy, a taste of the kingdom of heaven, when I do my daily tasks as service to the Lord, without earthly reward, but instead for the greatest reward.

Lord, thank you for the reminder that when serving others, I am serving YOU! Remind me when I grumble that you intended for me to serve! Instead of grumbling, may I focus on loving you so that my attitude can shift allowing me to use the service as a way of loving others too!

Mary said...

Fair to God looks different than the way we see it. It is fair that He loves everyone and forgives all that turn to him, no matter how we judge people. So we have to figure out how to love, how to serve, how to reach everyone.

Marriage is a serious commitment and children are precious. God wants to bless both.

Lynne Watts said...

I am always challenged by the story of the rich man. He is trying hard to follow the rules but oh how hard it is to give up the security of things! Today I looked at a blog called the 100 challenge http://guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge/ The writer is trying to downsize his life to 100 things...Could you do that? I ask myself what is Jesus asking me to give up? What so consumes my life that my focus is not on living a Godly life?

J. Wilson said...

The fig tree incident caught my eye during this reading. Jesus continues to tell us to not only have faith, but to ask for what we need in earnest prayer. I think back to the times when I wanted to move a mountain in my life and used worry and a lot of my own power to do it rather than prayer to do God's work (uh, and it did not work usually!) Yet when the mountains where so huge that I knew I couldn't budge them without God, I resorted to prayer out of desperation and God made those things happen in His own way and time. I am learning to call on Him for all things & not just the impossible problems, but it is hard to do when I feel I am bothering Him for something that I should be able to do on my own. Gotta work on that!

Now, I have a question about Sat's reading - please help me answer if you will. I noted in 17:11 Jesus was asked if Elijah had come back to Earth before He came by the disciples. He replied that Elijah had indeed come back, but that he was scorned and disbelieved in the same way Jesus himself would be treated. Verse 17:13 says the the disciples understood Jesus to be saying that John the Baptist was Elijah (or at least that is the way I am reading it.) Is this correct? I don't remember this verse from my Disciple classes and found that interesting. Any insights on this my friends?

J. Wilson said...

One other question - do any of you know a good website to go on for biblical references and additional help to understand the scriptures? I occasionally need a point of reference when reading and my different bible versions don't lead me in the direction to find my answers. Thanks!

Eve Rainey said...

These passages remind me that my reward is not here on this Earth - that my life is still going to experience problems even with Christ in it. My reward is in Heaven and that things are going to happen to me that don't seem fair and others are going to get things that I think they don't deserve. But, I shouldn't waste my time and energy on these things - it's not my business. My business is to serve others and live my life to honor Him. That's all I have to focus on.

Carol Flores said...

The story of the rich man spoke to me. What would I say if someone told me "if you want to be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor"? How would I do it? It's impossible! But 19:26 says something so awesome that I think I should engrave on the inside of my eyelids...with God all things are possible! When I read this last night, I had just finished watching the Book of Eli movie. There is a part of the movie where Eli is explaining to young Solara what the world was like 30 years ago before the nuclear war. He says "people had more than they needed, they forgot what was precious". My prayer is that I always remember what is precious and don't get caught up in the material things that don't matter.

Kennesaw UMC said...

Everyone--did you see Julie's question...do you have thoughts?

I'm not sure that John the Baptist WAS Elijah--or more that he was like Elijah. The verse is fascinating though. I wonder what others thought....

I would suggest a couple places to look for references.

1) Biblegateway.com normally has commentaries with the passages.
2) I love blueletterbible.org. It lets you look at the individual words in their original language, but also has really good commentaries.
3) I love Coffman's commentaries. I normally just google the passage and Coffman's commentary. However this looks like the full set: http://www.studylight.org/com/bcc/

Hope this helps Julie! Others, what do you think?

Pastor Emily

J. Wilson said...

Thanks, Emily. I will check those sites out.

Sara Armstrong said...

I was struck by the humility and resolve of Jesus. How many of us knowing we are going to a painful death would stil be teaching, healing and building the kingdon?

Carol Flores said...

Julie, in my Bible next to Matthew 17:13 is handwritten "= Elijah". I must have written it in somewhere along my Disciple path...But since I did not remember why I wrote it, I read some of the study notes for Matthew 17:10 and it led me back to Matthew 11:14 where Jesus says, referring to Johh the Baptist, :if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah that is to come". Other notes said that John came with a ministry so completely in the spirit of Elijah's future ministry (Luke 1:17) that in a sense it could be said that "Elijah has come already". Not sure it's totally clear to me but hope this helps. I love Biblegateway.com too!