Message Based on Luke 12:32-30 and Hebrews 11:1-3

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Today’s readings shed a light on practical ways of living out our faith and devotion to God as we go about our daily lives.

 

Today’s readings are about what happens when we allow ourselves to be steeped in the presence and the realness of God in our lives and how that presence and realness permeates every aspect of our beings and translates into generosity of spirit. I am talking about generosity and fruits of the spirit, our ability to influence our friends and neighbors, that Paul talked about in his correspondence with Galatians and Colossians (Gal 5:22-23 and Colossians 3:12).

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I think that there is only one fruit of the Spirit and that fruit is LOVE. Just like any other fruit it consists of many parts which are joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23) as well as humility and meekness (Colossians 3:12).

 

Can you think of times in your life when everything seemed to be going wrong? Can you think of times when God seemed very far away? Even Mother Teresa had times like that [http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1655415,00.html]. Today’s readings are about times in our lives when we are bombarded with problems and everything seems to work against us. The way we respond to these situations shows the extent of our relationship with God and the extent of our ability to surrender all aspects of our lives to God’s guidance.

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“…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34 NIV)

 

To understand what Jesus and Paul are telling us in these readings, let us consider where today’s Gospel reading fits in the narrative that Luke is telling us. Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem to fulfill his earthly mission, and as he travels he spends time with the people who open their hearts, minds and doors to him. Jesus teaches them and encourages them to live abundant lives, and along the way Jesus also models genuine ways of producing the Fruits of the Spirit [ which is LOVE = joy + peace + patience + kindness + generosity + faithfulness + gentleness + self-control (Gal 5:22-23) + humility + meekness (Colossians 3:12)]

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Listen to the way Eugene Peterson’s The Message translation interprets the teaching of our Lord:

 

Luke 12:32-40 The Message

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29-32"What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.

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Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

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33-34"Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bank robbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on.

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It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

 

35-38"Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, …

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awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He’ll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them.

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It doesn’t matter what time of the night he arrives; they’re awake—and so blessed!

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39-40"You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn’t have stayed out late and left the place unlocked. So don’t you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don’t expect him, the Son of Man will show up."

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If we continue reading today’s Gospel reading, the very next verse reads, “Peter asked, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?’" (NIV Luke 12:41). When Jesus invited his Disciples to be steeped in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions, when Jesus invited his Disciples to be generous with their spirit, when Jesus invited his Disciples to be watchful, nimble and prepared, the Disciples’ response was, “Jesus, I hope you are talking about someone else…”

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In 2007, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson starred in the movie The Bucket List. Two men from two very different walks of life end up roommates in a hospital; both of them are terminally ill and both of them are surprised by their illness. One man (the character played by Morgan Freeman) creates a "bucket list" – a list of things to do before he "kicks the bucket." When he learns that he has less than 12 months to live he throws the list away, where his roommate finds it, and both of them embark on a journey of a lifetime that takes them all over the world. In a way these two men ventured out to "fuss" over their regrets, only to discover that both of them completely overlooked "God-provisions, God-reality, and God-initiative" in their lives. It is an inspiring story and an awesome movie that leaves those who view it with questions and appreciation for the precious gift of life that God gave each one of us.

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The point that I am trying to make is that today’s readings challenge us to live genuine lives in such a way that when the end of our journey is in sight, we don’t need to write a bucket list. The promise of today’s readings is that when we come to that juncture in our lives, we have lived full, productive lives, we have lived our lives with genuineness and openness to God’s leading, and there is a sense of completeness and wholeness about who we are…

 

The point that I am trying to make is that the Holy Spirit is there to guide us as long as our hearts, minds and doors are open. The Holy Spirit of our God and the examples set by Jesus are there for us as we journey towards perfection.

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