Following Christ to Serve Those in Need

2019-09-29 – Year C – Proper 21 – The Rev. Steven Edwards
Amos 6:1-7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:11-19; Luke 16:19-31

Luke 16   Abraham responding to the pleas of the rich man in hades. v. 25 lacked for nothing. v. 19 satisfied, self-reliant, needs met, fulfilled, sought after nothing that his own means couldn’t provide

What do we seek after, what is our goal? Do we represent the resources, the work of Christ?

The poor man, Lazarus, on the other hand, v. 25 received bad things. v. 20  longed for (to eat), covered with sores (diseased) needed treatment, comfort healing shelter, mobility, v. 20 (laid at the gate) everyday living needs were not met. He sought help He hoped for the mercy of others, and of God to meet his needs, for he could not. He longed for even the scraps, the abundance and waste from the table of the rich man

How are our needs met? Are our needs met by the grace, the anointing of God? What are our resources? How do we use our resources, whether material, spiritual?  (our lives are more than just food, water and shelter) Are we merciful with God’s gifts & provision to us? Do we stave off material, spiritual, emotional needs of others? Do we show the love and compassion of God for his people?

I am confident that as the Holy Spirit searches our consciences, he reveals ways in which we are called, and respond to the welfare of others. God often alerts us “quickens us” to needs for compassion and comfort in our midst, to give comfort to those who suffer.

Do we represent the resources, the work of Christ?     Listen to Jesus answer, about himself, to the disciples of  John : Matt 11:2-5 We must give ourselves over to the need of others in prayer and in person. We are the ones sent by Christ, to stand in the gap until his return!

Those in need may be known to us or may be strangers. Either way, those in need should not have to earn our trust, our favor, their way into our “good graces”. Our Church often serves as refuge to those in need; and a “safe place” to serve others. Please continue to participate through your time and resources in the many outreach and mercy services offered.

Jesus, in the telling of this parable of Lazarus and the rich man, is teaching us the way of God, for those in need. For those for whom, He gave himself, His life, His undeserved favor for those in need of a savior. Those who did not, do not have the means in their own power, to experience the joy and fulfillment of life. Grace and mercy, favor for those who have lacked it. The treasure of Heaven, The Son of God. Listen to this lesson form Luke 14:12-14. The love of God unbound, true righteousness does not seek favor returned, for the use of God’s gifts and provision; but the fulfillment of gentleness and mercy toward those who need it.

We are all rich in some ways. Uniquely blessed, We receive gifts from the Holy Spirit, for ministry and charity for others. We have in us and for us, all the blessing of Heaven, in Jesus Christ who is Lord of all. In the words credited to St Francis, Preach the Gospel, always and everywhere, using words if necessary. We must be enjoined in the gospel of love and caring for one another.

Now let us consider the warning, the truth and consequences, so that we, who are more stubborn or slow of heart, might be moved to action.  

The prophet Amos proclaimed “woes” for those of abundant resource and power, yet no concern for those who lacked them Amos 6: 1,4,5 & 6; but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.   

Hear the leading of our Lord from the epistle of Timothy 6 :10, 11             17-19 May God bless us and lead us in use of all the resource of Heaven and earth, opened to his in our Lord, Jesus Christ,  to the fulfillment of His will and blessing of His people.

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