Monday, January 9, 2017

Surrender to His Mission

Like many other pastors, and especially youth pastors, I like to pick a title that catchy, and perhaps bordering on irreverent. Here was the idea I had for my most recent sermon.

People Jesus liked hanging out with more than he liked hanging out with people at church.
Maybe that's too wordy a sermon title. But read through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and you’ll discover a list of people that Jesus liked spending time with; sinners, kids, smelly fishermen, prostitutes, drunks at weddings, women with shady pasts, tax collectors, ....

I speak slightly with tongue in cheek because the truth is that we are those sinners and people with shady pasts, no matter how much we try to play dress up.

The truth is we worry about a lot of stuff. If the stuff we tend to worry about had as much impact on the kingdom of God, compared with the commandments and commission of Jesus, then maybe we’d have a reason to stress ourselves out.

But it doesn't. Sorry. It just doesn't.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that your problems aren't real. I'm not saying that your problems don't have to be dealt with. I AM saying that Jesus told us to find our peace in Him

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
~Matthew 11:28-30
I AM saying that Jesus told us to give Him our burdens and to seek His kingdom first

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
~Matthew 6:25-27
I would love to hear a sarcastic tone in the words of Jesus here. I could imagine Him asking, ‘Aren’t you far more valuable than birds? Duh!’ But Jesus is much, much better than I. So I believe these words came from His lips gently, almost as if He’s unsure how we have not heard this message before.

‘Don’t you know how much more valuable to me you are than any silly bird?’

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
~Matthew 6:28-33

Surrender to His mission. If we did this… If we practiced joy, kindness, and thankfulness more than we worried about any do not commands, maybe we would notice just how much God is working around us and how much more He would work through us. Until then, we may have to settle for God working in spite of us.

Our grand mission, called the Great Commission, has been given to us. Our great command, love God, love people, has been handed down from a Supreme Court where we don't have to worry about who will be appointed next, because God will not fall off His throne.

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