Bible Readings and Devotion for June 17 & 18, 2020
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Devotion for June 17 & 18, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Years ago at a 7-Eleven store I was in line to buy some snacks. The cashier was a young woman, maybe about 23-25 years old. She was talking with her co-worker about various things. The topic moved to something about faith and God. She was quick to say that she had no connection with such things. Why? Because she had done too many wrong things for God to still care about her. In my brief moment at the register stand I tried to assure her of God’s love, but she just brushed it off. My time was over due to the line, but I tried to offer her hope in the God who loves all sinners.
In our reading from Mark chapter 2 we have scene of people criticizing Jesus. Why? Because he was spending time with and caring about various sinners. One specific sin is relevant to the context, for this is when Jesus calls a new follower, Matthew Levi. Matthew Levi was a tax collector. Tax collectors were agents of the occupying Romans. The Romans hired locals to do this work. The workers were given their right to collect the stated tax, plus a personal commission. Some would demand a higher commission than was stated. Since they were under the authority of Rome, they got away with this action. The Jews who accepted these jobs were considered corrupt enemies of the people, and therefore sinners.
Despite the public hatred of these workers, Jesus loved them. There was no endorsement of their sin, but he didn’t let this prevent him from caring for them and bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to them. They were not too far gone for God the love them.
In faith today we live on both sides of this coin or sorts. We are sinners of various sorts, yet we are also ambassadors of Jesus. We need God’s powerful love and presence and forgiveness in our lives. We also encounter others every day who need some kindness and compassion, no matter how far gone from God they feel they might be. They also need God’s powerful love and presence and forgiveness. Nobody is too far gone for God to love them.
In all this, we are invited to humbly show kindness to people wherever they are in the journey of life. We are called upon to start from a position of love and compassion. Even when we look at our own lives we can see that this is difficult time. We don’t fully get the journey another person is experiencing, so let’s focus on kindness and compassion for our fellow sinners.
St. Paul teaches us in Ephesians 4:25-32, “25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
Let us be people filled with kindness, forgiveness, knowing what Jesus has first done for us. Let us treat everyone we meet as one who is no too far gone for God’s love.
Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.