In Luke 12, a man interrupts Jesus while he is teaching a mountainside full of people. He asks a question about his inheritance. It is a legal question. I am curious what impulse caused this man to interrupt Jesus in front of thousands of people. The parable Jesus tells about a "Rich Fool" casts this courageous interrupter in a certain negative light. But this young man (likely the youngest in his family) who has just lost his Father (hence the inheritance issue) who boldly asks Jesus his question does not strike me as one sitting in the crowd wringing his hands hoping to leverage Jesus for his profit. It seems far more likely to me that this young man who has just lost his Father and who has been fighting with his brother all week is at the end of his rope, and so he blurts out a question in the middle of a crowd. Perhaps he is as surprised to hear his own voice as the spectators around him.
Jesus briefly addresses the young man, but his response, I'm sure, is disappointing. Jesus does not provide a solution. He does not arbitrate his case, because Jesus knows that what this man needs to hear is not that he is right, but that he will be alright. The man comes to Jesus with a legal problem, but Jesus quickly moves on to a parable about a Rich Fool that uses the 1st person far too often ("Self, I will build myself a barn for my grain so that I will have a place to store my grain, so that I will be set for life.") The parable holds a lesson for the young man, but I'm guessing it is the next portion of Jesus' teaching that pierces him to the core.
"Do not worry," Jesus says. "Who by worrying can add a single hour to their life?" It is one of Jesus' most famous teachings. This is the good news that the young man who has just lost his father needs to hear. Jesus is teaching to the entire mountainside of people, but he looks back and locks eyes on the young man and tells him to not worry. And then he says, "do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom." (v.32)
Do Not Be Afraid.
Do not be afraid, for your father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. These are the words that the young man needs to hear. That his father has chosen gladly to give him the kingdom, and that he does not have to live in fear.
Our problems often present as legal matters. Anxieties about work or family. Being a good enough spouse, friend, man, woman. Jesus does not solve the young man's legal problems, but if the young man kept listening to Jesus' teaching, he got his answer.
"Do not be afraid. For the Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom."
We pray for those who struggle with mental disorders and depression. We pray for treatments followed and that those treatments may be effective to bring long lasting change. We pray also for family members and caregivers of those who who need relief.
Lord in your mercy...Hear our prayer.
We continue to pray for those affected by violence in our world. We pray especially for France as many acts of violence have occurred since January. Most recently we are horrified to hear of the priest who was murdered while celebrating mass. May your Holy Spirit be with all the victims and all those who mourn the loss of loved ones.
Lord in your mercy....Hear our prayer
Loving God, we pray for our children in our Grace family. As they are learning about the Fruit of the Spirit this summer may they all continue to be nurtured by your Spirit and grow up to know you more.
Lord in your mercy....Hear our Prayer.
- Volunteers for the fall! If you are interested in helping out with set up, children's ministry, or another area of the Sunday morning service, contact Ana (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Thanks to everyone who came out to Lisa's house for our Dinner's With Grace this Sunday! Thanks to Lisa for hosting!