Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sunday Sermon Notes 9.06.09

Ever wonder what is wrong with the world?

Ever wonder what is wrong with your family?
Ever wonder what is wrong with you?

Usually the more simple the answer, the closer you are to the truth. Even for very complex situations, it is always most helpful to look for the simple line of cause and effect. So, here's my attempt to give a simple answer to a very complex crisis: the world is the way it is because we reap what we sow.

It won't take long to come up with exceptions to this simple explanation, but that doesn't undermine the credibility of the answer. The idea isn't necessarily a negative one either, but rather a source of hope for when we make the sacrifice day in and out to do the right thing.

When you look at the lives of the people around you, or when you take a long hard look within yourself, and seek to find answers to how you got to where you are, I think that the idea of "you reap what you sow" will provide the most helpful truth.

Think about it like this: the better you can connect the dots between your current circumstances and your previous choices, the better position you have for determining your future circumstances. If you like where you are, then with your new knowledge gained through reflection, you can keep on making the same wise choices. If you don't like where you are in life, then you can start making different, better choices.

But how do you convince people of this? How do you convince yourself of this? We know from experience that most people don't want to change. They want their circumstances to change without changing or improving their choices and actions. They want to reap something better without sowing anything different.

Let's imagine you're a very smart person. You're also skilled, people-savvy, been around the block so to speak, and you have a good grasp on history. And you're very wealthy as well as ethical. And you're a king. Or queen. And you care about your people. And it so happens that your people are heading towards dark path. With all your resources, how do you convince your people to change what they are sowing, lest they reap the dark rewards of rebellion?

This is the position Jesus finds himself in on that last Sunday before he is crucified. He has entered Jerusalem as their king, and yet he stops to weep over the city. He has spent the past few years teaching, healing, pleading, training, helping hundreds and thousands of men and women - trying to help them sow something different in order to reap something better. And yet the city will reject him and his way. Jesus came to save Israel from political suicide and military devastation. Yet with all of his resources, he was unable to save the nation. His efforts led to his execution by the people in power. Kind of a discouraging story...

But note Jesus' attitude towards those who rejected him: he wept for them. He knew that the seeds of their rebellion against God and their hardness towards the poor and oppressed would lead to a harvest of destruction at the hands of the Roman army. Jesus wept for all those who refused to sow something different. He wept for all of those who would get caught up in a hailstorm of swords because they refused to believe the truth about their coming consequences.

And also note that Jesus never gave up on trying to help his fellow citizens sow something different.

So for you: if you know that you need to start sowing something better because you want to reap something different, do it! It'll be hard, and you'll have to press on, but don't give up on yourself. And if you have people in your life whom you know need to sow something different, plunge yourself into that task. Of course it will be difficult, but like Jesus we ought not to give up on our fellow citizens.

Here's a line from Jesus' cry over Jerusalem: "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace..."

If you knew what would bring you peace today, would you do it?

If you knew what you needed to do today in order to reap peace tomorrow, would you do it?

Would you? Do it.

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