Really. Hard. Things.
Jesus comforts his followers that his love and presence in our lives will sustain us through the really hard things we endure, and Jesus promises us that following him will cause us to introduce really hard things into our lives.
Isn’t that amazing? Jesus is both the cause of and the cure for huge challenges in this life.
In Matthew chapter 11 Jesus says to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
And, concurrently in Luke chapter 14 Jesus tells us, “… whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… and those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
Our Lord is both a consoling comforter and a constructive agitator in our lives.
This past Sunday at First Pres we began a new sermon series that holds both of these truths alongside one another as we began to study what Jesus teaches us about the material things in this life. Just like when Jesus teaches about prayer, or about sex, or about power, or about sin, or about relationships; when Jesus teaches about money, he is always teaching from a perspective of wanting us to flourish as human beings.
Jesus teaches us that money is important; incredibly important. In fact, Jesus teaches about money more than just about any other topic. Managing finances is not an afterthought to Christian discipleship, it is a core concept of being a follower of Jesus. But the things that Jesus teaches us about money aren’t designed to make us rich financially, they are designed to make us flourish as his beloved children. (If you missed the sermon on Sunday you can listen to it here.)
Here is the one thing I pray sinks in for all of us as we begin this sermon series:
Jesus sees all of your money, all of your resources, all of your relationships, all of your time as a tool. And here is what you need to do if you are a Jesus follower. You need to figure out how to use your tool of temporary worldly resources, so that when you die, there will be people there who welcome you, because you took what you had at your disposal and you used it to introduce people to Jesus Christ.
The point that Jesus makes in the parable we studied on Sunday from Luke 16 is this: money is just money. It is temporal and fading. All of your money, and your house, and your car, and all of your stuff will belong to somebody else someday. And because it is temporary and not eternal, wealth is to be used, not hoarded. The question is not how much money we have, the question is how we are using every resource we have.
So what has Jesus entrusted to you in this life? And how do you intend to use it?
Grateful to be loved and challenged by Jesus alongside you,