In a few weeks (November 11) we will once again hold our annual Pledge Sunday event at Trinity. That means that the topic over the course of the next several weeks turns to the theme of Christian stewardship. The goal is not to focus on what we do or don’t do in responding to our gracious God as cheerful givers or generous stewards. Our goal is to identify who…and whose…we are: children of a loving heavenly Father who continues to give us all that we need to care for ourselves, one another, and empowers us to introduce Him to a world that does not know the security and joy of a Father’s unconditional love.
I mention that because our text for this Sunday brings us words of our loving Savior in confronting the issue of identity gained from possessions: “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (10:24-25). Jesus wasn’t rejecting rich people or barring them from heaven with these words. He WAS saying that life isn’t found in riches or the possessions that we so often use as a benchmark for personal worth and value. Life is found in relationship with the God and Creator of the universe who, because of Jesus, calls us His own “children.” Though God doesn’t give us all that we want (“just” all that we need!) we are given to look to Him as the source of our life and strength. Even if salvation is impossible for us, “with God all things are possible” (27).
This past week I saw a story on the news about the destruction of Hurricane Michael in Florida…and how even seasoned veterans of past hurricanes there were saying that this storm was different. In places where wind had swept buildings off of foundations, clearing the earth the way a Monopoly board is swept clear of houses and hotels when the game is over, there were places where literally nothing was left behind. Yet there was hope in the middle of the destruction. One survivor said: “We looked for long lines and steeples.” A story celebrating the sudden community that grew out of the rubble of the storm featured churches that were banding together to provide relief to strangers, even though many of their own had lost so much. Remembering who and whose we are does not mean we will somehow be immune to suffering or material loss. It does not mean we will never have reason to be afraid of the future. It DOES mean we are never alone. It DOES mean our heavenly Father’s embrace is always there, even when we don’t feel it. And God gives us the privilege of sharing the abundance of His goodness that we have received as His children, with others. Even in the middle of the devastation a hurricane leaves behind, that means God can use us so that others look up, not down.
What will God do through you this week not because of what you’ve done or what you own, but because of whose you are?