With the approach of the Thanksgiving holiday, I got to thinking about how my family used to “do” thanksgiving, well to be honest I didn’t really think about the event so much, but the logistics of having those events. For those of you who haven’t heard, I came from a pretty large family, and an even larger pseudo-family. I have three sisters and a brother, and have also had two foster sisters and five foster brothers over the years. My mom did daycare for twenty years so we had an additional 8 to 14 children wandering around the house as well. And I need to tell you this, we had one bathroom for all of us. I know, it sounds incredible, but all the kids shared the same sink and bathtub, and you know what we never really thought much of it. We didn’t know any better. In a real sense, ignorance was bliss. It never really occurred to us that things could have been different, and so we didn’t long for or worry about what wasn’t a part of our lives. Sure the bathroom tile was cracked, the sink was stained, and by Tuesday the bathtub had a ring around it. It was life, we didn’t know better, and so we were o.k. with things as they were.
About three and a half years ago Sara and I designed a house that we then had built. Because it was made to our order it had a number of simple but useful features that we both really appreciated. We’ve now moved into a home, that though full of its own features, lack the fun and helpful things that our old house had. And we’ve come to recognize something, it takes effort to be content when you know what you are missing. When I was a kid and had to share a bathroom and shower with fifteen others, it was just fine. But I find that come today, I’d like a shower and whirlpool tub, thank you very much. I find that it is oh so easy to become less then content with what I currently have. If its my car, well it sure would be nice to have one that had a smoother ride. If it’s a television, it sure would be nice to have a much bigger television. The list goes on and on as our wants increase and our dissatisfaction with our present situation decreases.
Our scripture text today deals with the issue of contentment, although indirectly. Jesus commands us not to worry. We worry when we are not in control, and when we are not satisfied with the way things currently are. Jesus here confronts those listening to him all those centuries ago, as well as us today with a simple truth, phrased in the form of a question. And Alex Trebeck on Jeopardy thought he was the one who started it. Jesus asks a rhetorical question, he asks isn’t life more than food, and the body more than the clothes that surround it?
Jesus is basically confronting a mindset that believes that life is about making money and getting stuff, and he asks, is that what life is about? So, I want to ask you, is that what life is about? Today we are expressing, as a community of faith, our thankfulness for what God has done for us, and I need to tell you something. It is possible to for you to be very thankful for what God has given you, and still have missed Jesus point. Jesus is asking a very pointed question, but He doesn’t ask it right out. So it’s easy to think that Jesus is just telling us not worry in this passage, but that’s not his point. His question is much more pointed, because he is asking us about our priorities. He is asking us to analyze our priorities, the things we spend our time, energy, and effort on, and find out if they are worth the effort. And He even gives us a guide to gauge our efforts by…have you heard the song, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Allelu, Alleluia.”
So I have a question to ask you this morning, What are your priorities? What are the things that are most important to you, those things you just couldn’t live without? Can you imagine living your life for something else, something better? What would that look like?
Over the next few minutes I want to give you a vision of what that something better might look like. For many of you this is a path upon which you have already journeyed a good distance, but for some of us, this type of vision may be helpful.
The vision I want to give you is an image of Jesus. Imagine a man, in his early thirties, with wisdom surpassing his age, and charisma and influence, and power…power unlike anything seen before. A real up and coming figure in society. A man whose name is on the tips of everyone’s tongues. He is saying things that have never been said before, proposing a relationship with God unlike anything imagined in human history. A groundswell of support surrounds him. Time and time again he removes himself from the people’s midst so they won’t force their agendas on him. Time and again he disappears up into the hills to find out what God’s plan is for Him. Finally, during the greatest of all Jewish holidays, he is lynched, brought secretly before a court, and sentenced to death…the sentence is carried out by the end of the next day.
Jesus talks about
You know, we Christians use language about being saved or being born again, and sometimes that almost seems like code describing some thing strange. I want to tell you why I am a believer in Jesus Christ.