Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pentecost 16 (Proper 19)

Another sermon, in a hopefully-long series, on following Jesus, was entitled "Following the One Who Shares." The texts were Ezekiel 34:11-24 (sermon text), 1 Timothy 1:5-17, and Luke 15:1-10.

God gives us attention, grace, and forgiveness to enable us to follow Him. If we follow Him, we share as He shares. By nature we hog things, so sharing must be learned. If one shares, it's something the other does not have - in the case of us and the world, life, truth, and forgiveness. We're here only because He shared life with us! We can show mercy only because He is merciful to us! In Him, and through our voices, the worst of sinners are forgiven.

Pastors should care for their flock as Christ taught and lived. Jesus goes deliberately into the midst of sinners and outcasts, not staying in the "safe" zone. Our footsteps must follow. Sharing isn't "safe," but "safety" is selfish and counterproductive. Do not close off your Christianity to protect yourself - who will feed those hungry for the Gospel? Ask Jesus to turn your fear to His purposes - follow His footsteps. Share the Gospel. Like the firefighters nine years ago, be a hook in Christ the Shepherd's hand. Wade in to pull others back.

Soli Deo gloria.

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