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Sunday, February 7, 2016

02072016 Quinquagesima Emmanuel Lutheran Church Goodland KS

February 7, 2016
We work and sow in faith of the promises!
We all know the stories of “Chicken Little” that always said, “The Sky Is Falling”.  In a movie adaptation, everybody doubted Chicken Little until the sky did start falling.  His reality was not seen until, the people he lived with, understood what he was seeing.  As neat as a fable as it is, the truth is, if one would have only looked with Chicken Little’s perspective, the truth would be revealed.

Today we gather only days before the church begins a penitential time of year, known as the season of Lent.  Yet, the truth is, we should not mourn this time of year or season, but look with a different perspective at what is about to begin and view it as a preparation.  Two weeks ago we heard that we are laborers in the vineyard, no matter when we began the work.  All of us are equal.  Last week, Jesus implored us to SOW the seed of the Gospel.  And today we hear Jesus telling His disciples He is headed to Jerusalem in order to die, rise again and fulfill the plan of salvation.

That may seem strange to read 2000 years later, but the reality for us today is that God isn’t calling us to just listen, God is calling us to something greater.  You see, we who gather here today, “We work and sow in faith of the promises!”  Today we are called to this task as God’s laborers and His children.

God is calling us to work in His Kingdom for His Glory.  We won’t agree with each other 100% of the time.  Each of our methods in our families, farms and futures will be different.  But when we enter into God’s house, are baptized in the Water connected with the Word of God, we are called to pull in the same direction.  We are called to Work and sow in faith of the promises that God makes of eternal life.

God’s promise of eternal life is very clear.  It is meant for us to understand our reality differently.  For God’s Work He has in store for us is to sow the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Some of us have said, I don’t have the gifts, I don’t feel comfortable, I’ve done my time.  But have we said, if I can’t speak, maybe God can speak through me.  Have we said, I may not be comfortable being up front, but I will volunteer to support from behind and not wait until I’m asked?  Personally I said “I wasn’t called to ministry” when I graduated college.  I decided I knew better and went off to graduate school.  I thought I knew better than God.  Two years later, in August of 1993, I was headed to seminary.  God wanted me to sow His Gospel and I had to have the chip on my shoulder knocked off. 

So I walked in faith and went to seminary.  I should have been done in 4 years, and been ordained.  But God still had work to do on me.  As you know it was not until I laid prostrate on this floor, hearing and heeding your call of Emmanuel that I was ordained to Word and Sacrament ministry.  But during those 17 years, I learned to walk in faith of the promises of God.  I had to be humbled and honestly that was a really tough pill to swallow.  But once I swallowed it, God has used me in ways I could not have imagined and impacted lives I never would have thought possible.

I tell you this true story, not as some believe, to say “I’m better” than anyone sitting in the pews of Emmanuel.  I tell you my story because God had a plan for me and He definitely has a plan for each and every one of you.  What is holding us back from following God’s plan?  It isn’t faith, because we are here today.  It isn’t because we feel better or more superior to everyone else.  It isn’t that we don’t have the money.  We simply do not follow God’s plan, because it would mean we would have to put our relationship with Jesus Christ first in our lives.

Caleb Breakey wrote a book entitled, “Called to Stay”.  He stated, that in order to grow and help other believers, “Christ must be their (the believers) first relationship, first purpose, and only true source of wealth” (p. 28).  That is a crushing statement in our materialistic society.  Yet, Caleb is right on the mark.

You see if we want Emmanuel to succeed, we need to work tirelessly for God’s Glory.  We need to sow the Word of God in our daily lives and the lives of everyone we meet and we need to have faith in the promises of God of eternal life.  Can we do this on our own?  No way, no how, will never happen.  But God can and does reach down into our lives and offer us the grace we need to be a blessing for each of us.

The meal we are about to receive is proof of God’s reaching down into our lives.  Just as a rancher reaches down into a pit to pull out a calf that has fallen into the deep mud.  God daily reaches down into our lives to wash each of us off and offer us the grace He so freely gives.  When we come and receive Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood, we receive life and salvation, freely offered for us on the cross of Calvary, remembered in the Upper Room and personally prepared for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for us today at our altar.  We receive God’s gift given to us, because of His great love for us.  This is the promise that was sowed in the Garden of Eden, spoken of by the prophets for generations before Jesus birth and fulfilled in the faith we have as we gather here today.


May we today join Jesus and put our individual and personal relationship with Him first in our lives, work in His kingdom for Kingdom results, sow the seed of His offer of grace for all of mankind and trust in His promise that we will have eternal life.  For when we do this, God will take our humble efforts and grant us the greatest blessing, entrance into His Kingdom that He not only prepared for us, but promised us when He uttered these words, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  AMEN.

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