Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pentecost 20

Readings: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Philippians 2:1-18; and Matthew 21:23-32 (sermon text).
We're very competitive - but in talk only, or also in deed? Talk is cheap; the deed is what's tough. Look at today's parable: the vineyard work (metaphor for faith) to teach us to become faith-walkers and not only faith-talkers. It's Pharisees (talk only) versus tax collectors and prostitutes (walkers). Jesus call us to walk. But, like the first son, we vehemently say "No! Don't make me do it!" Yet later some of us do end up doing our Father's bidding, sacrificing our own selfish agendas. Many of us will also stay merely talkers - if even that.

There was a Son who both said and did "Yes." He did it in love, for He came to serve and to save. But why did He leave heaven for a time? He didn't have any obligation to spend 33 years with us ingrates. Remember, though: He was NOT primarily a role model! That cheapens Him. Rather, He did it to forgive sins (the Word that works) so that we may always walk with Jesus. We may not know where this walk leads, yet we have Him beside us, carrying us gently.

Walk thus: away from severed sins, on the path God has set you in, in the joy of God's forgiveness. You have the privilege of saying "Yes" to the Father's bidding. It's not just for trained church workers. Evidence of having said "Yes" is found in the expanding Kingdom, those with whom we have shared the Gospel of Christ.

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