Above All Else
Scripture: Luke 12:29-32 MSG
“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
Where we focus our lives and minds when life happens and worries come, can have a huge impact on how well we make it through. Jesus gives us several things to consider when these happen to us.
Conflict = Peace
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
There is so much wisdom in God’s word , that it baffles me how simple and deep it can be. This passage and title is about conflict and peace, what is the best way to come to conflict and receive peace. As a teacher of God’s word I look to see that true human nature and spiritual desire is for peace. Having more money brings peace, living a healthier lifestyle brings peace, doing good and being a person of integrity on your job or in your business brings peace.
The word of God in and by itself is a peace maker for those that read, and apply the wisdom therein. The world is full of those that are hurting and full of those that would rather trade the sufferings and trials of life for peace. Isn’t it wonderful that as Gods royal family we are given the mantle of peace, not that we won’t face trials and tribulations.
I give you this verse to talk about how embracing conflict can lead to peace. Now, allow me to say that peace may not be a final result between you and another, but you are can receive peace within your own soul. If, you have ever lived for sometime you have possibly had someone sin against you (disappointments, missed the mark of trust, lied about you, cause you to stumble etc.). The word of God says to go and tell him his fault- oooh that could be a tough one for the those that shy away from conflict. Getting the courage to tell someone about their fault (not in judgment), we are called to just go and tell his fault and to tell him alone. Defensiveness can come quickly when someone is called out in front of others and immediately a barrier to reconciliation has risen. This first part of this passage is dealing with conflict and how to properly go about it for you and the other.
The second part of this passage is your gateway or bridge to peace, if the other person will listen you have gained a brother and avoided having an enemy. Listening is more physical than verbal, others can see your authentic nature way before you speak a word. In the end if your heart is pure, meaning you come with an attitude and posture of love you will be closer to gaining a brother , than to retaining an enemy. This is the bridge of hope, to foster a greater relationship and to lead others to the Holy One Jesus Christ the King.
Blessings Pastor Milton
Though Labor Day is historically rooted in a promotion of the American labor movement and trade unions in the late 19th century, it has since become a universally accepted celebration of the “social and economic achievements of the American worker… (and to) the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
But why exactly do we celebrate our work? And, maybe more importantly, why should we celebrate our work?
As we reflect on all the goodness brought by the innovative and industrious production of American labor, there is cause enough for a day of celebration. However, there are more fundamental reasons to honor workers. It is typical in our culture to focus on us as individuals and our independent accomplishments and pride. But there are better and truer motives for our labor that provide a beautiful and sustaining foundation for appreciating work itself and those who do the labor.
God is a WorkerWe find meaning and purpose to work itself in the creator of work and the nature of that creator. One of the first descriptions of God all the way back in Genesis 1 has him doing the “work” of creating. It explicitly mentions him as the “maker” of things, reflecting on “everything that he had made,” describing it as “very good,” (Gen. 1:31) and then resting “from all the work that he had done.” (Gen 2:2) This establishes God in his nature as a worker, that work itself is good, and that reflection and rest on labor’s accomplishments are appropriate.
We are WorkersThe same passage that describes God as a worker also describes humans as “made in his own image.” (Gen. 1:27). The obvious implication of humanity reflecting God’s image in this passage is to see that creativity, work, and producing things of the world will be fundamentally a part of our nature and existence. And this is exactly what is affirmed in the following passages where the task is given to “work the ground” (Gen. 2:5, 15), name the animals (Gen. 2:19), “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28) in as benevolent steward/ruler over God’s good world.
Our LaborWhen we reflect on the labor of our time and culture, we hear the echoes of both who we were created to be and the reflected nature of God to labor as something inescapably a part of who we are. I often see it when I walk the streets of my suburban neighborhood with the variations of designs house by house, the tended gardens seeking to add a bit of beauty and order, and even the paved street and utility poles bringing resources to us for transportation, communication, and basic life needs. And I also see it in the massive metropolis in our downtown Los Angeles skyline symbolizing many of the driving engines of our economy and commerce as it churns away day after day.
Of course all these images of our labor and productive lives are riddled with brokenness and instances of injustice and impoverishment as well. They remain far from the goodness and potential God desires and will one day bring in fullness and completion in the New Heavens and New Earth.
But this should not prevent us from rejoicing, reflecting, and resting in the goodness and accomplishments God has allowed through those who yet bear his image. All of us, both Christians and non-Christians fulfill in partial and measured ways, his good purpose for the world through their work.
Be grateful this Labor Day and say a prayer for God to better reflect his good nature through your good labor.
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17)
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