Title: You are Christ’s hands in the world!
Text: Luke 10:25-28
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
There is a cute story of a father and a daughter.
Laurie, when she was about three one night, requested Dad’s aid in getting undressed. Dad was downstairs and she was upstairs, and ... well. "You know how to undress yourself," Dad reminded her. "Yes," Laurie explained, 'but sometimes people need people anyway, even if they do know how to do things by themselves."
William C. Schultz, Bits & Pieces, December 1990.
The wisdom of a child is at times quite telling.
In our text for today we read of a lawyer who stood up to put Jesus to the test. Now, this is not to be a sermon which lifts up or puts down the noble profession of attorneys. But it is the word of the Lord and we can all learn an important lesson.
The question that is asked - “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” - is a bit odd. How do you inherit anything? It might have been more direct if he had asked, “What must I do to earn eternal life?” because that is the question so many what to know.
In my business background we we’re always taught to answer a question with a question so that you could better get to the real objection. So Jesus, being the best at fleshing out the true meaning to the question that is asked of Him replies with a question.
26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
Having the ball back in his court the lawyer recites the word giving a summary of the Moral Law correctly, according to Deut. 6: 5; Lev. 19: 18.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
And I might add that he probably said it with a bit of boastful pride too!
Well, finally getting to the real objection, Jesus turns the prideful attorney’s answer back on himself when He says:
“You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
The truth is, as Jesus quite rightly points out, no one, not even one who rightly knows the scripture can keep the Law of God perfectly. To know the Law and to keep the Law is two very different things. And, this command to love your neighbor as yourself really pushes us well beyond what we can do. Shoot, for many of us we can’t even love ourselves so how are we going to love others?
But, despite falling short God uses you and me, His children, and:
You are Christ’s hands in the world!
You too, as we all do, tend to put Christ to the test. It’s the same word of God today as it was for the Lawyer and the same requirements that God demands and at times many believe they actually love God and their neighbor enough.
645 baptized and 453 confirmed members here at Peace but we worship less than 100 on a weekend. Now granted some have moved away and some attend elsewhere and have not yet asked to be removed from the roles. But, many just don’t come, maybe thinking that they’ve loved God enough and like the lawyer ask: “And who is my neighbor?”
God works through means and for better or worse that’s you and me. We are God’s hands in the world, bringing the love of Christ to a dying world and also to real people. As we learned last week with the sending of the 72 they went proclaiming peace and healing with the good news that the Kingdom of God was at hand.
Sometimes your neighbor needs a helping hand, when the ways of the world bring grief. At times it is a prayer of comfort to let them know that you understand and will stand with them. At times it might require a word of rebuke when they are going the wrong way in this life and as the church it might require a word of warning from us that to be away from God’s word and sacrament and the gift of worship and fellowship that He calls to participate in may lead to no communion and fellowship with him at all.
400 plus members of Peace need a call from their neighbor. If you care about a member that you know that doesn’t attend give them a loving call. If they have needs look for ways to help. Remind them that God will never leave them of forsake them even if they’ve forsaken the assembly here at Peace and have self-excluded themselves from the church and the gifts God so longs to give them.
You are and need to be Christ’s hands in the world!
There is a telling story about:
Jack had been president of a large corporation, and when he got cancer, the corporation ruthlessly dumped him. He went through his insurance, used his life savings, and had practically nothing left. A pastor visited him with one of his elders, who said, "Jack, you speak so openly about the brief life you have left. I wonder if you're prepared for your life after death?"
Jack stood up, livid with rage. "You self-righteous Christians. All you ever think about is what's going to happen to me after I die. If your God is so great, why doesn't He do something about the real problems of life?" Jack went on to tell them that he was so despondent at leaving his wife penniless and his daughter without money for college. He then ordered them out of the room. Later, the elder insisted they go back and so they did. "Jack, I know I offended you," the elder said. "I humbly apologize. But I want you to know I've been working since then.
Your first problem is where your family will live after you die. A realtor in our church has agreed to sell your house and give your wife his commission. "I guarantee you that, if you'll permit us, some other men and I will make the house payments until it's sold.”Then, I've contacted the owner of an apartment house down the street. He's offered your wife a three-bedroom apartment plus free utilities and an $850-a-month salary in return for her collecting rents and supervising plumbing and electrical repairs. The income from your house should pay for your daughter's college. I just want you to know your family will be cared for."
Jack cried. He died shortly thereafter, so wrapped in pain and the death that this life is promised to bring. But he experienced God's love from a neighbor even while rejecting Him and it is hopeful that he repented and by the Spirit turned to Christ. His widow, touched by the caring love of others, and the gospel message of hope did turn to Christ, serving others as she had been served.
Death and the Caring Community by Larry Richards and Paul Johnson
God uses his broken vessels to be Christ’s hands in the world!
Christ uses you too. By God’s Spirit in you, He brings the message of hope to those who need to hear. At times it might just be a caring hand at a time of need because Jesus cares for all His children.
You care because Christ cares. He is the true help we all need in this sin covered world because Christ took the punishment of sin upon Himself you receive the cleansing bath in baptism marking you as a redeemed child of God. Though you still sin in this life Christ can use you and your hands for His work. By caring for other they see the caring love of God through you and as God’s word is proclaimed by the Spirit they believe in Him and are his child too.
You are Christ’s hands in the world!
God’s peace and healing comfort to you in the blessed name of Jesus!
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.