More / Book of the Month / “Anxious for the basic” Sermon / Luke 12:22-40 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday August 11th 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

“Anxious for the basic” Sermon / Luke 12:22-40 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday August 11th 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church




“Anxious for the basic” Sermon / Luke 12:22-40 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday August 11th 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Text: Luke 12:22-40
Theme: “Anxious for the basic”
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Intr – The headline of the news said: “Broke teen who sold kidney for an iPhone now bedridden for life.” The summary of it is: “A Chinese man is now bedridden for life after he sold his kidney as a teenager to the black market to buy the latest Apple products. Wang Shangkun was 17 years old when he made the fateful decision. Shortly after the illegal surgery he began suffering from a decreased level of kidney function. Eight years on, the 25-year-old is now bedridden for life after his remaining organ failed.

Mr. Shangkun had sold his kidney to black market organ harvesters in April 2011 where he received AUD$4500 — purchasing an iPhone 4 and iPad 2 with the funds. “Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,” he said in reports at the time. Mr. Wang now spends his days in bed and relies on dialysis to survive his kidney failure, local Chinese media recently revealed.” [1]

         The reason I bring this as the introduction of the Sermon today is because it illustrates in one of the most stupid ways what Jesus is talking about in Luke 12. “Where or treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (In this case, your kidneys too.) Jesus warns against excessive preoccupation about earthly things; anxiety; lack of trust; what is earthly and material taking the place of trust and hope in God.

CONTEXT

         The first thing we need to observe is that our text today starts with “And”, which means it is closely connected to Last Sunday’s text about the fool man who wanted to accumulated goods on earth, while not being worried about treasures in heaven.

         Pastor Giese broaching the topic especially under the light of commandments (9th and 10th) covered two antagonistic Cs: Covetousness x Contentment. He reminded us:

“So, when you're endlessly anxious about your life and you think that your life is wrapped up in your things, to the point where your things own you and not the other way around, and then you find that it’s all crushing down on you, remember what Jesus says, and remember who you are: Jesus says, "One's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Your life is in Christ Jesus, your life is not your own possession for Scripture teaches that "you are not your own, for you were bought with a price," "not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ." In this way you are His possession, and as His possession you can rest assured that He will take care of you. You are in the palm of His hand whether you are rich or whether you are poor, and in His hand you are secure because Jesus tells you that He gives you eternal life, He assures you that you will never perish, and that no one will snatch you out of His hand.”[2]

 

         We cannot overlook the fact that today’s text connects to the same topic – the way coveting and the love of money gives birth to all sorts of evil. If you foster those 2 commandments in your heart, 9th and 10th, you are preparing the soil for the breaking of the others to grow fast and strong. Also, it is always good to remember this good warning: “To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much is impossible”.[3]

         “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” This is one of the hardest topics of the entire bible. We sometimes think it is Creation, or Miracles, or Authenticity of the Bible… Those can be hard ones topics for our human reason, but I don’t think they edge out Anxiousness about material goods; money; possessions; means of life. There is and old saying about marriage and family life that reflects this in a good measure: “When poverty comes in through the door, love goes out through the window”. A marriage can undergo difficult ordeals, being money the biggest of them, or at least at the top 3. Maybe that’s why also Offering sometimes is a hard topic to be talked about at Church. We talk easily about offering time, gifts, and all sorts of offerings except money. Then the topic is too sensitive to be broached. Perhaps the problem is that we become too anxious about it in the wrong way, instead of the simple teaching of the Word that to offer money is to give back to God a small part of everything he gives us, so that treasures are provided in heaven for many as we sustain the proclamation of the Gospel.

         Are we surprised then that Jesus says: “O you of little faith!” “Well I actually am, pastor, cause I come to Church, I don’t prioritize accumulation over family.. Ah, and I don’t sell organs for iPhones”. Well, not yet… Just kidding. Jesus is spot on here. Remember Paul: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”[4] We need to constantly hear Jesus calling, “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” We have a hole in our hearts that money, goods, purchases or assets can never fill out. It is only Christ and His cross. His Words are both firm and gentle: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom…. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Why do we need more that 2 hearts when 1 is sufficient – a heart of wisdom in Christ? This way we avoid becoming bedridden in the Money hospice waiting for our terrible death, even when having money and possessions without faith in Christ makes it look like everything is good and beautiful.

         Jesus says: “Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys…”

Illustration: How much do you own in that (upward) direction?

         If we can put a good spin on the word, as Christians we have anxiousness for the basic. As Christian we long to live with less, according to what Jesus says. He is the first to lets us know: less is more.

 ANXIETY

         Now, on anxiety. Many psychologists say that some amount of anxiety is positive in life because that gets us going by helping to generate adrenaline and the thrust to look after our goals.

         That rings somehow true, but we are tackling this topic from the biblical perspective when anxiousness is connected to something really prejudicial to our faith and soul. It stems basically from lack of confidence, and self-righteousness.

         Remember: Anxiety “doesn’t make you stronger for tomorrow; it only weakens you for today.”(John Blanchard)

         Anxiousness about our earthly life, especially about possessions and means of living needs to be daily drawn in the waters of Holy Baptism, and constantly diluted in the bread and wine, body and blood of our Saviour. This is the way to fight anxiousness back, lessen it, to keep it under control. I don’t even dare to say to overcome it because I don’t think it is possible for sinners to get rid of anxiety. But we are bid to come and remain inside God’s love to have it taken care of. We are invited to be “anxious for the basic” – which we find in Christ.

         We can only caught in the trap of self-help when dealing with it with our own hands. Think about this illustration:

         Imagine[5] heating a nail up to 1000ºF. Now, imagine holding it in your hand. Well…that’s damage!

        Now, what happens if you throw this same terribly hot nail into a big swimming pool? Just a little noise, half a second, and it is cold again. Even at the same temperature, there’s a great difference of heat exchange in the center of the hand and in the middle of the water.

        Anxiety, sometimes, nails our motivation; burns our chest, our heart, our life. And it’s not easy to figure out alternatives when we are going through the heat of this temptation.

        Remember that at those times our hands alone can’t lower the heat of anxiety. Our effort will be in vain. God’s timing to cool us in the pool may not fit our time schedule, but our efforts can’t stop the heat from burning up our lives even when it’s right in the middle of his immense strength and love. The nails that burned Jesus hands on the cross assure us that this love embraces us in such a way that little room is left for anxiety to dwell. It’s not magic, it’s faith. It may be not fast, but it is always safe; and sure.

        We will then avoid placing our trust in anything that is not your True and Loving God, from an Iphone to whatever material goods your eyes may fall upon.[6]

Cc – Now, like trying to fix a nail on a wall with your bare hands, trying to fight anxiety the same way can’t have a good ending. Before being nailed by it, try this one on for size: throw your fears and sorrows into God’s love mass. When our anxiousness is just for the basic,  for the treasures that are in Heaven, that are in Christ, we can hardly contain our anxiousness, actually, our longing to be not bedridden, but heavenridden for life. Forever.

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[1]https://www.foxnews.com/tech/broke-teen-who-sold-kidney-for-an-iphone-now-bedridden-for-life
[2] https://lutheran-church-regina.com/blogs/post/are-you-content-sermon-luke-1213-21-pr-ted-a-giese-sunday-august-4th-2019-season-of-pentecost-mount-olive-lutheran-church
[3] https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/631930-to-be-content-with-little-is-difficult-to-be-content
[4] 1 Corinthians 10:12
[5] http://toquedevida.blogspot.com/2008/08/anxiety.html
[6] One thing to still be considered in this connection is when there is no anxiety at all. That means we have stopped worrying about what really matters. Because once you realize you are a sinner, and you lacking trust in God, and you are putting you trust in things you shouldn’t, and now your eternal future doesn’t look good, there is no way you wouldn’t be anxious. Terrified even. Isn’t that what happens when you realize you are running out of money? Or when your kid is going to hold back a year in school? Your car is on the verge to go broke and similar things? When you are not aware of these things, they don’t bother you; no anxiety. As soon as you are aware of them, anxiety weighs in and shots through the roof. In Christ we have a secure and safe place where anxiety about sin and hell are no more.

 


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