Tuesday, December 18, 2012

His Good Pleasure

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 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. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Jesus continues after the parable of the rich man trying to store his treasure. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. We worry ourselves too much. Way too much. And not just about material things, but about the kingdom. Our lives, all of it depends on God. We live and die by God’s grace. He accomplishes his purposes through us, despite our worry and anxiety. It really is a sign of unbelief. I’m not saying we shouldn’t buy insurance or any other such nonsense. God uses these things to provide for us too. But we should realize that it is God who gives us our jobs, our work, our families and everything else. And when it is all said and done he has given us the kingdom too. He has given you the kingdom. It was his good pleasure to do so. It is his good pleasure to do so. He wants to give it. Not that you should earn it. But that he gives it. The kingdom, this is salvation, justification. It is yours despite your sin. He gave it to you. No you don’t keep it by abstaining from prayer with people of other faiths, as proper an idea as that may or may not be. It isn’t your faith, your salvation you have any reason to worry about. We have a gift, a gift to be shared. It is the kingdom, the satisfaction that Jesus has made us right with God. Nothing can take that from us, because it is God’s gift. It is his gift to you. He delights in giving it. He delights in giving it. It is his good pleasure. He doesn’t give it begrudgingly to those he thinks have done their best. He gives it to worthless sinners like you. He gives it to the guy who shacks up with his girlfriend. He gives it to the girl who doesn’t know what to do but move in with her boyfriend and would perhaps rather be married. He gives it to sinners.
He gives it to pastors, who screw it all up. Listen, the only thing that gives me the confidence to get out of bed in the morning and preach the gospel is that I know it is the forgiveness of sins that applies to me. That there was nothing I ever could have done to earn it, there is nothing I can do to keep it. It is in God’s hands, and he forgives. That is what he does. He loves, and in and through that love, I too learn to love. Perhaps that means not taking advantage of people when and where I can. Perhaps that means repenting of past sin, and present sin. Maybe it means not condoning the sin of others. Letting them know that it is sin. But more than anything it means forgiving sin, forgiving weakness, forgiving it on behalf of God who forgives me for not getting it right. I can’t worry about myself. I live by grace. So do you. Jesus died to forgive the very sinners he ate and drank with, the drunkards and prostitutes bludgeoned by the bourgeois standards of their day. And he did not thereby condone any sin, but he definitely did not condone self-righteousness. We are sinners one and all. And still it is his good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

No comments: