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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, August 11, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 12:32–40

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” (NRSV)

We’re picking this up in the middle of a passage where Jesus has been telling his disciples not to worry, lilies of the field and all that. We pick it up where he says, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” You’ve got bigger fish to fry, folks. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

One thing we know about worry is that it takes up a lot of mental bandwidth. If you’re trying to manifest God’s kingdom, you don’t have enough room in your brain to be worrying about whether there are going to be any tacos left by the time you get to lunch or whether your pants make you look fat (the correlation between taco consumption and pants size is the topic for another day).

We do like to worry about trivial things, though. Tacos and pants and lawn care and laundry. Phone plans and traffic jams. We give our attention to the minutiae of life and not the big stuff. We love the minutiae of life. It’s comprehensible. The kingdom of God? That’s too much.

Jesus, though, reminds us that our attention is a measure of our values. If we really meant what we said about the kingdom of God, wouldn’t we be spending a lot more time and treasure and pure effort trying to bring it about? Where your heart is, where your mind is, where your attention is focused—that’s the best indicator of what it is you really value.

So maybe we all need to think a little less about getting our tacos and a little more about feeding the hungry. Maybe we should spend a little less time on the cut of our clothes and a little more on making sure everyone has clothes. It wouldn’t hurt to worry less about our home décor and a little more about people sleeping on concrete. Because the kingdom of God is not brought around through selfish concern but through the action of God’s love.

Lord, there’s so much noise in the world and we get distracted so easily. Remind us that you have given us a filter that we can use to reduce the distractions and focus on the essential. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts

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