Sunday’s sermon was entitled “You’ve Got to Be Kidding!” We marveled at the seemingly unimpressive ways God used to bring salvation into the world (John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, his disciples, the water and Word of Holy Baptism, the bread and wine and Word of Holy Communion).
Here are a couple of expressions of incredulity for your entertainment from my recent vacation:
- While staying on the fifth floor of a five-story hotel, we only ever needed to reach the 1st floor and the 5th floor. On two different occasions, two teenagers interrupted our five-story journey by getting on the elevator on the 2nd floor and then getting off on the 3rd floor. You’ve got to be kidding! Use the stairs, kids!
- Shortly after returning from our Wisconsin to Colorado to Arizona to Wisconsin trip, I took our Ford Escape in for an oil change. The shop manager asked if we’d hit a deer. Well, we did run over a mule deer carcass in New Mexico. He informed me that they picked deer carcass bits and pieces off the bottom my car; we carried it all that way. You’ve got to be kidding! Look for some mule deer jerky at the Wild Game Feed on the 27th…
And then there’s this, Trinity family – have you read through the stewardship letter that came via email and that accompanied your offering statement? It lays out our school’s increasing opportunities in terms of an increase of the number of students as well as the increase of students experiencing difficulties in one of more areas of study. Add to this the fact that approximately half of our students are not members of Trinity and a significant percentage of these are without a church home.
Overwhelming need. Overwhelming opportunity. You’ve got to be kidding! Whose job is it to meet this need and opportunity? Look in the mirror. You’ve got to be… Wait! And remember our Creator/Redeemer/Sanctifier, our Lord who provides everything we need and so much of what want.
See the kind of love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 EHV) Christian stewardship begins and end with Psalm 24:1 – “The earth is the Lord’s and everything that fills it, the world and all who live in it.”
How will you respond? Have you responded? I trust that you will do at least this one thing: evaluate your giving to the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Examine all that Lord generously, relentlessly provides for you. Then prayerfully consider how you are responding with thankful, generous giving. Are you willing and able to show even more gratitude for the daily and eternal gifts the Lord so freely and generously provides? May “You’ve got to be kidding!” NOT be something the Lord would say when he examines our gifts to him.
A word about the picture that accompanies this devotion. That’s how I picture Trinity Lutheran Church and School’s ministry during the past few years: smooth sailing, sunny skies, floating in the pool, kicking up our feet, worry-free (financially speaking). But now, friends, we’re being challenged to respond to a tremendous Gospel need out of the remarkable, extraordinary resources the Lord has placed in our undeserving, grateful hands. It’s all his (the Lord’s!): his Gospel ministry, his precious lambs, his loving gifts from which we can joyfully give back to him.
Kidding? Nope. Confident in Christ!
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand