Saturday, August 04, 2007

Physician, Heal Thyself

I'm printing out my sermon for tomorrow. I've chosen more or less the Revised Common Lectionary passages from Luke and Colossians, the former covering Jesus' parable of the Rich Fool and the latter, where we are to consider ourselves dead with our true lives hidden in heaven with Christ.

I'd intended to focus on the theme of True Riches, but the bridge collapse in Minneapolis last Wednesday made it right to deal also with the motif of death.

A very sound sermon the Holy Spirit has given me, I think: All about the wrongheartedness of confusing making a living with having a life, and of confusing the temporary life of this earth with the eternal life in God. With a descant on how our attitudes on that have to be right all the time, since at any moment our lives might be required of us, just as in the parable of the Rich Fool, just as with those poor victims of the bridge disaster the other day.

The Holy Spirit is also reminding me what a wry sense of humor my God has. Why does He always insist I preach my sermons to myself first? Why does He so cleverly arrange it so, no matter what the texts are, they and my sermons always are applicable to me?

It struck me in the Luke passage that, by human estimation, the man in the crowd who asks Jesus to make his brother divide the inheritance with him isn't greedy at all. He only wants what's his according to the law. He only wants his means of livelihood.

But my sinless Lord Jesus implies that he's greedy! He's greedy because he's focussing all effort and hope in life on material sustenance and how he can get it. He's not concentrating on God and His will for His life; no, he's willing to drag his brother's name publicly through the mud and ignore God in the process. The poor can be greedy just as much as the rich. They can be just as impoverished in their relationship with God.

And here I am, without a fulltime job since early April, drawing unemployment compensation that will run out before I know it. And I'm worried. I know I'm good at what I do, whether it's in pastoral work or in architecture. And I'm willing to get additional credentials where I'm lacking.

But I'm afraid. I'm afraid a suitable pastorate will never open up for me. I'm afraid that potential architectural employers will only see my age and the fact that I'm a novice in AutoCAD (I'm an ace at drawing by hand) and refuse to speak with me any further. I worry about losing my house and my possessions and coming on the charity of family or the State or ending up a bum.

Or worse, maybe, I'll starve to death and die!

I'm afraid, I worry, I focus on making a living or my inability to make a living and turn my eyes totally from the power and provision of God! I let that fear and worry depress me so much I'm unable to concentrate on finding the labor and livelihood that God has out there for me!

I don't say writing this sermon has screwed my head back on straight. But preaching it tomorrow should help the process a little. And may grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit move it forward a lot.

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