Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
To hear your voice
To listen deeply to your word.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear your voice,
To follow you in all of life,
In the way of God’s gracious reality.
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
The lectionary reading invites us to gather with the disciples as Jesus offers them spiritual direction. He is inviting them to pay attention to the amount of anxiety which bombards their lives, anxiety with stems from fear—fear about scarcity: will there be enough? Enough food? Enough clothes? Enough money? Enough of what we need to live? It is this same fear which drives the consumer economy in which we live, and which in turn drives our compulsive and busy lifestyle. We are rarely at rest.
We tend to forget who we are, or rather – whose we are. Hence Jesus has invited us to cease from striving, not to keep worrying, to turn our attention to God, Abba/Amma who knows our need of all these things. (Luke 12:29-30) He asks us to put our energy and love into how the kingdom of God is coming, showing up among us, and assures us that as we do, “these things will be given to you as well.” (12:31)
If we fret about this business and busyness of striving for the kingdom, Jesus reassures us again:
Don’t be afraid, little flock,
For it is your Abba’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
It is here that Jesus now addresses our pocket books. The kingdom comes within and among us as we become free from the clutches and compulsions of the kingdom of this world. Hence Jesus’ counsel for us to look at all we possess. In our current age we judge our success–and that of others—by what we accumulate (income, investments, houses, cars, appliances, furniture, fashionable clothes, etc.) and by what we produce. He tells us to
Sell your possessions, and give alms.
The money we receive from selling what we own we are to give to the poor, those in need.
Within the gracious rule of God all are cared for, all have enough.
We discover over time that we are also creating a lasting investment, a savings account which cannot be touched by the anxious rise and fall of market economy—because our banking, saving, and investment is now kept and managed in heaven (12:33) More important, our heart – the soul of who we are—will find its love and focus on loving God and God’s gracious ways. We will find our self freed from the traps and the fears of this world’s ways.
We will also be free to serve God as we wait for Jesus’ return. Unencumbered by things, freed from continual striving for more and always more of what the world demands that we have, want, and need, we are free to stop, to rest, to listen for God’s presence and guidance in our lives and in the lives of those around us—in the community of faith, and in the world.
Think back over the last week. Where do you find yourself anxious? Driven? Fearful?
Reflect on your attitudes towards money, savings, investments, possessions?
Listen closely to what Jesus is saying to you. What responses arise within you?
How do you desire to be in conversation with Jesus about this?
In what way do you desire, and in what way are you moving towards this deeper freedom Jesus offers?
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
8/5 Monday: Luke 12:32-40
8/6 Tuesday: Luke 12:32-40
8/7 Wednesday: Psalm 50:1-8,22-23
8/8 Thursday: Isaiah 1:1,10-20
8/9 Friday: Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16
8/10 Saturday: Luke 12:32-40
8/11 Sunday: Luke 12:32-40