Sermon 24th Sunday Following Pentecost – 11/07/2021
Psalm 127; Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44
In psalms this day, we come to understand that what accomplishments (no matter large or small) come to us as the result of god’s gift. He provided the skills and allows us to complete the projects He wants us to complete. Beloved, this dos not call us to idleness in the face of His sovereignty; rather to gratitude as we labor with Him to accomplish His purposes on this earth. Our prayer lives at home and in church express confidence in God’s direction in all aspects of our lives, and to others of our relationship with God. In many ways our children are an extension of our own faith in God while also giving them real life instruction for they were witnesses of their father and/or mother’s faith and teachings in the home, to anyone questioning their veracity of teaching them about God. This psalm is a testimony to the ones who have faith in God and in serving Him with clarity and joy, not out of some kind of obedience only. It is attitude of participating in their children’s faith walk, just as much as their own.
From our teaching in Ruth, there was a clear pathway for Boaz as a kinsman-redeemer, but there was one who was closer than he. He gave the man the opportunity to buy the land from Naomi and Ruth the Moabitess, thus keeping the land under the dead man’s name and his widow as well, but he was not willing to do so. Boaz, offered to do just that, which enabled him to do so and he was clear to marry Ruth. God had raised His anointed leader from the unlikely union of a Moabite widow and a respected Israelite farmer. Thus the lineage was set, that when Ruth had a son named Obed. He was the father of Jesse, who would be the father of David.
From Hebrews, we learn that Christ’s salvation is not based on a religious cycle in which rituals must be repeated at prescribed intervals to ensure salvation, as Christ did that in a one time historical act which cannot and need not ever be repeated. His act separated time itself into the age of promise and the age of salvation. Christ did not have to be repeated time after time, for his death on the cross promises us release from our sins, and His resurrection and return to heaven as the beginning of His time before returning.
Salvation is a past event provided by Christ’s sacrifice and experienced in individual lives through faith. It is a present reality of life in Christ. It remains a future even fully realized in the second coming by those who have believed, are experiencing salvation, and are awaiting the complete of our salvation. The purpose of Christ’s appearing a second time is to bring salvation to those waiting for Him. The future completion of salvation is associated both with His return and our bodily resurrection.
In the Gospel of Mark Jesus questioned the motive of certain scribes and teachers of the law who took pleasure to call attention to themselves. You know the ones who like to be recognized in the market places, have the best seats and feasts and in the synagogues, always seeking to be treated better than all they viewed as lower ones. Status seekers make poor teachers of divine revelation. Jesus called them insincere for they liked to make long prayers, giving others the opinion they were more special that those around them. In truth prayer is a conversation with God, whether it is in the public eye or private. It is not just a display of piety before people, for it come across as without sincerity. He often told the people to, “Watch out for the teachers of the law.” They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted as special, while in reality they do not follow the words that they preach and are insincere.
The story of the poor widow is certainly concerning stewardship. Stewardship involves much more than money, but it does include it. It also speaks directly to her faith, for the two small copper coins was all she had. Jesus had watched those with much more give out of their riches, she she had given all.
We are to be involved in our church activities, both those held within the walls or grounds of the church, but also in outreach activities within our community and beyond. It is not just about giving money so someone else can go do these activities, it is in our being involved in our community’s activities as we can. We are like the poor woman, walking in full faith that God will provide, not just giving a few dollars. Stewardship should take our time or skills and our money, ensuring that the needs of our community are met as best we can all do.
I was once asked how much is the right amount? My answer was simply, that is between you and God, and then your obedience to your commitment. We are to live everyday of our lives as stewards of our time, talents, and money, and letting God lead you, while you follow in faith that He will always take care of your own needs. Amen.