September 26, 2022

Service and Readiness of Daily Life 07-08-2022

7th August 2022 (Pentecost 9)
Sermon Title: Service and Readiness in Daily Life

(Luke 12:32–40)

                                                                                  By Heeyoung Lim 

Many people live in fear because of war, the economy, global warming, unemployment, hunger, poverty, homelessness, disease, and death. It looks impossible to escape. Even in our daily life, people are bullied and neglected physically and emotionally, and sometimes they are abused mentally and spiritually. 

Jesus offers a word of comfort in a threatening world: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (v. 32). It opens us to the blessings that God is prepared to give. Do we want to live lives of giving? Jesus says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor”, calling on his followers to place their confidence in the imperishable things of heaven. In accordance with Jesus’ word, where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. In some points of view, “giving” seems to lead to deprivation and desperation, but the gospel promises that giving from what we have will make us mindful of the God of blessing, and ready to receive the gifts that God offers. Do we live our lives as the master’s servants, God’s children, and Jesus’ disciples? 

The delight of his life is to find ways to give not just daily needs but his whole kingdom to you. May we be freed from worry and material things. Dedication to Jesus is more than becoming worry-free. Christian dedication is to kingdom service, not worldly goods. We are part of God’s kingdom and do the work He gives us to do. May we not let anxiety rule our life. God will give us His kingdom. I hope and pray that we can concentrate on being God’s instruments to establish His kingdom here on earth. 

But how do we do all this? Today’s text invites us to tuck the bottom of our robes into our belt and trim and light our lamps, so we are ready to serve God. A servant of the kingdom is always on call and has no time for delay. No time to go out to buy oil. No time to light the lamps so they will keep on burning. No time to adjust our clothing so we can run to the duty the Master entrusts. 

It means that the Master calls us His servants. Jesus wants us to be ready to open the door and to carry out the tasks He has planned for us. This is especially true in the light of the second coming. We must be ready to move when Christ returns. It’s time to hear God’s words, serve others, and set out to complete the task. Are we worrying about material goods? Are we serving the Lord and His kingdom? When Christ comes, may we be ready to move with him.

I believe that we can be serving the Lord and others in the present and preparing for the future at the same time. As in verses 37 – 38, God wants us to be alert until Christ comes again. No spare time allowed. He may come when we least expect him, in the middle of the night. May we be alert and be blessed.

Heavenly treasures give no cause for worry, but earthly treasures will be caused for worry constantly. Our heart, the center of emotions and mental activities, will concentrate on where we have our treasures. Our identity is determined by where our heart is. Many people Ignore God and spend their physical and emotional energy on the world’s goods and earthly success while many Christians trust God and spend their efforts on the matters of the kingdom of God.

The priority toward God and His kingdom should not be replaced by our earthly desire. May we not let possessions become the focus of life. May we not worry about daily needs but focus on Christ’s kingdom and trust God to provide daily needs. Waiting in difficulties is not easy in an impatient world. Our busy life or uncertainty is rooted in anxiety and fear about the future. What would happen if we really entrusted the future up to God? God will care for you. 

In today’s text, the eschatology or consummation focuses not so much on the end times as on the end ways. The consistent message throughout the passage is not, “Be ready so that you will avoid punishment,” but, rather, “Be ready so that you will receive blessing.” After all, those who are ready when the master returns will be the recipients of a heavenly feast (vv. 37–38). Living, loving, and serving are our happiness and blessings in Christ.

Today’s text claims that our ultimate concern is God’s kingdom, because it was God’s pleasure to include us in God’s reign. What we need, accumulate, and possess in life is transitory as just time itself. God’s blessings for us empower us to use our talents, possessions, and time to live and serve for the kingdom of God in the present as we hope and expect Christ’s second coming in the future.

The prepared ones are those who strive to live and serve faithfully in the present, hoping for the future and expecting Christ’s return. Jesus’ followers prepare for Christ’s return, not personal pleasure in the master’s absence. Jesus calls us to lives of faithfulness, being ever ready to participate in the reign of God.

In our daily life, there are many distractions that pull away from God’s word, and many plans and works that divert attention from the things of God. God wants to give us His kingdom and blessings. The things of God are to be given the most urgent priority in every Christian’s life. God’s tender and attentive care leads and follows you. God promises to surprise with the gift of the kingdom those who stand ready and waiting to receive this special treasure. If we trust God, we will store up our heavenly treasures. Nothing can destroy us and our treasure there. May we obey God, practice His word, follow Him until the very end.

I would like to invite you to ponder where and when such a gracious God has been encountered in the past. Was there a time when you were brave, patient, and peaceful in the face of a crisis? May we be exemplary servants in the present and trust in God’s provision for the future.

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)