Blog / Book of the Month / "There's a lot to do while you do nothing" Sermon / Luke 10:25-37 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday July 14th 2019 / Season of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

"There's a lot to do while you do nothing" Sermon / Luke 10:25-37 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday July 14th 2019 / Season of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

"There's a lot to do while you do nothing" Sermon / Luke 10:25-37 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday July 14th 2019 / Season of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Text: Luke 10:25-37
Theme: “There’s a lot to do while you do nothing.”
Intr – A man was telling his friend about a car wreck.
           “I was cruising down Main Street when I was hit out of the blue. The other person was totally wrong, he crashed into me; and there we were. Then the craziest thing happened: I paid for the towing for both cars. Then, we both went to the car shop to assess the situation and see how the repair budget figures would look like for both cars.  After we got the numbers I paid in advance for everything. Not only that, I left my credit card number with the shop clerk just in case any extra expense would come up.   
“Seriously?” says the friend. “And then what?”  
“Well, then I woke up”.

         Yes, seems like only in the wildest of dreams someone would to that, especially in a situation when the other person is guilty. This is another way to look at the Good Samaritan parable. Nobody would do that. And as far as it is concerned, I’d say: you can’t do that, and you shouldn’t try to do that.

“How is that, Pastor? Are you saying that I don’t need to do good works; I don’t need to help my neighbour even beyond reasonable standards, or else, that I should even refrain myself to do so?”

Yes and no. This is a good and important tension here. We can sum it up this way: There’s a lot to do while you do nothing.

1 -  NO – justification

Jesus is the Good Samaritan. He did it all.      
_He is the one despised by the “holy” people. The one no one would expect to help. The one some wouldn’t even desire to be helped;    
_He is the “innocent” in the whole thing. He didn’t cause the wreck, he didn’t provoke anything. But he sees – just like the other two saw – and he is filled with compassion;

There’s a lot to do while you do nothing. This is the “do nothing” part of the phrase. Remember, the question from the scribe that originated the dialogue is not “who is my neighbour?”, but “what should I do to be saved?” Jesus is addresses primarily the first question, not the second. [1]    
         This is a common trend among us. We think the “God” part is all ok. We know him, we adore him, we obey him, we walk with him. “I don’t kill, I don’t steal, I pay my bills, I adopt street dogs and I don’t waste water. God should be very proud of me!” The problem seems to be, like with the scribe: if we only knew who our neigbour is we’d go out and help them, do our part, then God would now be super-duper proud of us!     
         Jesus is taking us back to square one. The Love of God, that’s where it all starts.    
         We can never stress enough this truth no matter how well you think you know it. Because as imperfect beings we are always on the verge of going back to our old Adam grip on good works, even if just a tiny little bit. “I know Jesus saved me, but…” and that adversative clause comes to center role. Whether we admit it or not, we are always prone to throw our 2 cents of “But I at least do...”

But ok, let’s think for a minute that God had revealed to me to preach today that now He is taking 5%. He is allowing us to contribute to salvation in 5% as long as we do good. How would that sound to us? Our old self would leap in joy, while maybe some family and friends might say…”Let’s see how he or she will be able to be good even 5%..”. Now think about doing good in a time where we see goodness and evil sometimes are completely turned inside out. The limits are blurred and we get lots of contradicting messages about what’s bad and what’s good.
Some examples:
_Spanking a child outside the mother’s womb is bad, but ending her life inside it is not;      
_Death is a forbidden subject; sex is a daily topic;     
_Littering and messing with our environment is bad, but making a blind eye to the cultural and spiritual “garbage” that do terrible damage the spiritual and moral environments seems not too bad;
_To speak your mind whenever you want and then complain about minds being spoken back to you;       
_to cause harm to animals is terrible, but destroying people’s reputations or lives is acceptable;      
_Complaining about intolerance with a very intolerant speech:   
_Feelings are good, good feelings are better, but feeling like sticking to knowledge and faith is bad;      
_to believe the Bible is badly naïve; believing the books and works one chooses to build their opinion on is smart and woke;   
_to have truth as an objective reality is bad, fundamentalist even; to say “there is no absolute truth, everything is relative” is good, as if this phrase wouldn’t be an attempt of and absolute truth itself;
          Those, and many more, are contradicting messages where the definitions of good and bad, great and terrible, right and wrong can be frail, feeble, blurry, and are ever changing and completely corrupt.    
         Jesus is showing that lawyer this one thing about “how can I be saved?”: We cannot rely on what we do. Not even .0001%. We can only rely on the Good Samaritan.
        A devotion I read this week says: “I used to hope that the right school, job, family and life plan would satisfy my soul.  But something was always missing, the best life-markers still disappoint.  Change comes not from any improvement or motivation plan. It is redemption, a blood-purchase.  By the Holy and Perfect One.  The Living One. How could it be?  And for me of all people. That’s where my boldness arises.  Nothing to fear, nothing to lose.  Life to the full is my starting point today.  God knows what’s coming.  He holds me in his hand and I’m ready.”[2]        

The scribe thought he had got it together, “only tell me who my neighbor is, and I’ll go out, do good and be accepted.”  Jesus shows how far everyone of us is from being a good wsamaritan. We should put ourselves in the place of the beaten down, semi-dead man along the road. Our Hope is in Him, we can one rest in Him.  He did it. He did it all. This is the source of our comfort, blessing, action, boldness, love. (Colossians 1)

 2 - YES  – sanctification

         Now, There’s a lot to do while you do nothing. This other statement makes it even clearer: Faith saves alone, but faith is never alone.
         There is no such thing as faith without works of love that stem from it. We would be missing the second point of Jesus’ talk if we missed that in the parable of the Good Samaritan. If we are not convinced by the parable alone (as Jesus says “go and do likewise”) we can read it together with the wider context of Scriptures. We will see that where faith is there works are too. Not only “normal” works, not only expected works, not even some little astonishing works. Even works like this one shown by the Good Samaritan.      
         At the beginning of Luke 10 we see that Jesus wants labourers for His Harvest. Proclaim the Gospel; isten to people.Pray and act to help them with their physical and emotional illnesses. Now, as he is our good Samaritan, we can be little Christ’s to our neighbours. We can bring forth those crazy acts of love that only Christians can do. There are lots to do to reflect God’s love to many. Yes, in Him we see objective standards of good things to be done. Two sources of it are the Small Catechism, and the list of the fruits of the Spirit we saw two Sundays ago in the Epistle Reading(Gal 5).
         We can help also by sharing the Word of God to help fixing many of the contradicting messages of our time: 
_to speak your mind in truth and love; hear your neighbour with empathy;  
_to protect a child’s life and care for her growth at every point of her development, without violence, both physical or verbal;       
_Death is part of life, sex is a gift of God to be used joyfully and wisely with your spouse;  
_to take care of the environment, it is our stewardship responsibility; more than that, replace the garbage” with good content for your spiritual environment; defend people’s honor and reputation;       
_Do not accept attacks against truth; but to be patient, tolerant in love when needed;    
_Jesus is the Truth. Absolute, perfect; and close to our hearts by faith.

But remember: This is Christ in action through you. You don’t do Good works because you owe something to God or anyone. It is because you are loved by your Father and you want to do His will; as simple as that. You want to do His will.

There is a lot to do while you do nothing. Faith is active in love. Jesus acting through us; Jesus helping our neighbour through us. Jesus been seen by others in us as we observe His Commandments.  Jesus being preached to many as we live His Will in our will.

You don’t need necessarily pay the bill when it is not yours. You can do if you want, but that is not the main point. Remember, the parable points to our total dependence in Christ. God provides us with many different and constant opportunities to do this, not in the world of our dreams, but in the real world of our daily life.

Cc – It is suggested by some that the final answer to the scribe’s question about “How can I be saved?” is in the immediately following text, “Martha and Mary”. I won’t spoil Pastor Giese’s sermon for next Sunday, so come and hear it. Meanwhile, as you go in your daily life, remember Christ did it all for you. Do nothing. Remember also the two most important commandments: Love God. Love your neighbour. Act in love out of faith. Yes, There is a lot to be done while you do nothing.


[1]Lc 10.25-37 - Prof. Dr. Vilson Scholz - 5º Domingo após Pentecostes - (Perícope - Trienal C)
[2] “Full Up”. First Call, Pastor Messmann. First Lutheran Church, Forth Worth Texas. July 8th, 2019.