Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

June 14, 2020 Pastor Dave Tucker Season 4 Episode 2
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Chapters
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Jun 14, 2020 Season 4 Episode 2
Pastor Dave Tucker

God calls us to bring healing to a broken world. Along with that call, God also equips us to accomplish the task. This message is based on Matthew 9:35-10:8 and was originally presented June 14, 2020. 

Show Notes Transcript

God calls us to bring healing to a broken world. Along with that call, God also equips us to accomplish the task. This message is based on Matthew 9:35-10:8 and was originally presented June 14, 2020. 

CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE 

Matthew 9:35-10:8

Matt. 9:35   Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matt. 10:1   Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

Matt. 10:5   These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

 During the summer of 2018, I had the privilege to serve as an intern chaplain in a local hospital. It was one of the most difficult ministerial experiences of my life! It was strangely one of the most rewarding ministerial experiences as well. I will never forget my first day at work. I was totally lost! I remember getting a call to be with a family as their loved one passed on from this life to the next. I was totally unready for this call! I ran to my supervisor and asked “What do I do? I have never been with a grieving family… What do I say?” My supervisor looked me in the eye and said, “David! Where did you get this idea that you have to say anything? Get out there and do the job that God is calling you to do!” So, I went. The room was dark and there was family standing by the bed of their loved one. He was a husband, a father, a new grandfather. The wife was sitting by his bed stroking his hand as he was taking his last breaths. I stood there and said nothing… I felt so foolish. Surely there was something I could say to bring comfort… Then, he stopped breathing. That was it. I was frozen in my tracks! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t one moment he was breathing and the next, he wasn’t. Perhaps, trumpets and angel music and a swoosh through the room, as he was ushered into heaven would have been helpful. Yet none of that happened! When I snapped out of my delusion, I looked around the room and everyone was looking to me, the chaplain, wondering what to do next. I looked at them and was overcome with love and compassion. I told them, “I am so sorry for your loss.” Then they opened up! They told me stories of their husband, father, grandfather. The stories of his love for them were so beautiful. All the fishing trips, the practical jokes, his love for Jesus were recounted to me by his family who was left behind. There was so much love contained in their stories and I realized that this man lived on in the hearts of those who loved him. As I pulled out my tattered journal from my chaplaincy experience and read these words: “Coming alongside a person’s stories is a holy task. When I listen to stories, I am on holy ground.”

In today’s scripture reading, We read about Jesus who was moved to love and compassion by the crowds of people who were following Him. In Matthew 9:35, scripture tells us that that he took compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. So, Jesus taught in their synagogues, proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, cast out demons, and cured every disease and sickness. We also read in scripture that Jesus did something else. He called and equipped his disciples to do the same! The thing I find particularly interesting is the group of ragamuffins Jesus chose to send and equip. Simon Peter, was an impulsive, loud mouthed fisherman. There was James and his brother John who fought like thunder! In fact, at one point, Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder.” These are the guys whose mother asked of Jesus, “In your kingdom, could you place one of my boys on one side of you and the other boy on the other side?” Let’s see who else, There was doubting Thomas. And Matthew, the tax collector. Matthew was a Jew who worked for Rome to collect taxes from his fellow Jews… not a very popular man to say the least! Then, there was Judas… the guy who later would betray Jesus. These guys were far from who we would consider powerful ministers. They didn’t have seminary degrees, None of them were ordained to serve in the church, They didn’t even have the cool vestments. These guys were no Billy Graham! Yet, Jesus still loved this flock enough to send these disciples. He loved his disciples enough to equip them. Perhaps Jesus, like my hospital chaplain supervisor, knew that involving His followers in kingdom work, would transform their lives.

God still calls us today! It is because of God’s love for a broken and hurting world that God sends us. It is from that same love that God equips us. Ephesians 4:4-11 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers…” Placing this passage in today’s context, we can say, “for some God appointed some elders, some greeters, some cooks, some gardeners, some builders, and some nursery workers. Some were given the gifts of a smile, and hospitality, and encouragement.” Do you see where I am going with this?! So, the questions I have this morning are, What specifically has God gifted YOU with and how can you utilize those gifts in service to God’s kingdom? 

Going back to our scripture reading for today, there is one thing that I wrestled with. Scripture says that, out of love for the Shepheard less and oppressed flock Jesus sent and equipped his followers to proclaim the good news of the kingdom, cast out demons, and cure every disease and sickness. As we understand that God still calls God’s followers to do the same, I had to ask myself, what does that look like right here and now considering the current state of events going on right now. This world is sick and broken and the only way to create healing is through the radical love of God for all humanity. This world is suffering from the demonic disease of fear and hatred toward each other. Only through an understanding that we are all created in the image of God, will we be able to see all people as our siblings. We are all connected! When we do harm to one another, we harm ourselves. The Good news of the kingdom is the message that God loves so radically that God has chosen all to be in relational covenant with God and our siblings. It is what we Cumberland Presbyterians call the Covenant of Grace.

What does it look like to proclaim the gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom? Those who know me well will tell you that I like to leave such questions open to allow for people to wrestle with them. I would challenge all of us here today to spend time in prayer and reflection asking God to reveal how this plays out in our lives. 

 Listen to the advice of European Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke: “ I want to beg you as much as I can…to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…Do not seek answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer…take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your innermost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing.” 

For those questions we can say thanks be to God. Amen.