HERE. One of the scriptures read was from Luke 12:13-34. I'd encourage you to read it. This is a continuation of the first part posted earlier today.
To be a community of faith is to be known, in some ways, for what we do; for what we do in our relationships with one another, with brothers and sisters in faith.
And that's why one of the things Jesus was really careful to do was to teach us about caring for one another in practical ways, and not leaving anyone to the side, not leaving anyone out, especially when some in the community are experiencing good fortune.
To be a community of faith means that we will live by faith in everything that we do. In everything that we do we will not just follow our own opinions, we won't follow what the society or the culture or the majority or the advertisers or all of the other people "out there" are telling us to do, instead, we will live according to the faith, according to what Jesus has to teach us. We will live according to the Word of God.
In Luke 12:13-34 that was read on Sunday, we had three stories. The first was directed toward someone who thought he had been shortchanged by his brother. The second one was about being anxious and worried. And the third one says this: "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
You see, faith is not something that is just about a religious opinion. Faith is not something that just lives in our brain. Faith has to do with the way that we live, the way that we love and the way that we care--and the way that we obey.
Warren Wiersbe, well known Bible scholar, who is also a former director of the radio broadcast "Back to the Bible" says this: "To live by faith means to believe God’s Word and obey it no matter how we may feel, what we see, or what the consequences may be. This is illustrated in the famous 'by faith' chapter of the Bible, Hebrews 11. The men and women in that chapter accomplished extraordinary things because they trusted God and did what He told them to do. It has been well said that faith is not believing in spite of evidence; it’s obeying in spite of consequence, resting on God’s faithfulness."
Now, at the end of the section where we are hearing about "not worrying" we had those words we already read (here in a different translation, Luke 12:32-24): "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out [the other translation says "moneybags" or you could say "bank accounts"], a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Many times Christians get caught up in the way that our culture and our neighbors handle things including money. We get caught up in thinking that we need to provide for ourselves, that the primary reason why I work hard is so I will have money saved up, so that, at some point in my life, I can say "Oh soul, take your ease, eat, drink, be merry, for I have treasures laid up for many years." What does that sound like to you? In practical terms? RETIREMENT!
And in Luke 12 Jesus teaches against it! Read Jesus' little parable in verses 16-21 where the "rich man" says to himself "“Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." And God calls him a fool.
Is retirement my aim in life? Is that what I work for and hope for? For us in the USA retirement is Sacred Holy. And here Jesus our Lord is preaching against that treasured ideal.
And then we have folks from our own body here who are living on extremely limited income who don't have enough to get their car repaired. And then we have Thanksgiving coming up. And thanksgiving is the time when remember and give thanks for all that God has given. What does that mean for us?
(part 3 of this message is HERE)