Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 14
The Call to go Above and Beyond

Luke 16:19-17:10       J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

Jesus shows the fearful consequence of social injustice

19-31 “There was once a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and lead a life of daily luxury. And there was a poor man called Lazarus who was put down at his gate. He was covered with sores. He used to long to be fed with the scraps from the rich man’s table. Yes, and the dogs used to come and lick his sores. Well, it happened that the poor man died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And from among the dead he looked up and saw Abraham a long way away, and Lazarus in his arms. ‘Father Abraham!’ he cried out, ‘please pity me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Remember, my son, that you used to have the good things in your lifetime, while Lazarus suffered the bad. Now he is being comforted here, while you are in agony. And besides this, a great chasm has been set between you and us, so that those who want to go to you from this side cannot do so, and people cannot come to us from your side.’ At this he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house for I have five brothers. He could warn them about all this and prevent their coming to this place of torture.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets: they can listen to them.’ ‘Ah no, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘if only someone were to go to them from the dead, they would change completely.’ But Abraham told him, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they would not be convinced even if somebody were to rise from the dead.’”

Jesus warns his disciples about spoiling the spirit of the new kingdom

17 1-3a Then Jesus said to his disciples, “It is inevitable that there should be pitfalls, but alas for the man who is responsible for them! It would be better for that man to have a mill-stone hung round his neck and be thrown into the sea, than that he should trip up one of these little ones. So be careful how you live.
3b-4 “If your brother offends you, take him to task about it, and if he is sorry, forgive him. Yes, if he wrongs you seven times in one day and turns to you and says, ‘I am sorry’ seven times, you must forgive him.”
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Give us more faith.”
6 And he replied, “If your faith were as big as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this fig-tree, ‘Pull yourself up by the roots and plant yourself in the sea’, and it would do what you said!”

Work in the kingdom must be taken as a matter of course

7-10 “If any of you has a servant ploughing or looking after the sheep, are you likely to say to him when he comes in from the fields, ‘Come straight in and sit down to your meal’? Aren’t you more likely to say, ‘Get my supper ready: change your coat, and wait until I eat and drink: and then, when I’ve finished, you can have your meal’? Do you feel particularly grateful to your servant for doing what you tell him? I don’t think so. It is the same with yourselves—when you have done everything that you are told to do, you can say, ‘We are not much good as servants, for we have only done what we ought to do.’”
The message today: Isn't it enough to do only the job we are told to do?
To go only as far as we are told to go?
To serve only for those few minutes we can begrudgingly squeeze into our busy schedules?
This passage gives us something to think about doesn't it?
If we are willing to go only "so far" with God, to just do the basics, will He be able to see us as those who truly BELIEVE HIM?
He was, after all, willing to go far above and beyond for us, wasn't He?
He came here .... leaving the perfection of His heavenly home ...  to rescue us from our sinful selves....
Was this required of Him?
He came and lavishly poured out His very life for us... so that we could be saved. When we place our lives in His Holy nail-scarred hands, we are cleansed from our unrighteousness, by the POWER of that lavish outpouring of His love.
If He had not been willing to go above and beyond for you, where would you be right now?
Following His example, are you willing to go above and beyond, for Him?
Setting aside your agenda for His?
Pray for the wisdom and discernment to see when and where He calls you to take that extra step......
Pray that He gives you opportunities to go above and beyond.....for Him....

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