By Deacon Bill McLean
Pent 15 9/22/19
When I was 11 years old, I used to do landscape work…mowing lawns, weeding gardens, raking leaves…and I had a few accounts. One of them was an older couple that I worked for during the summer. At the end of the summer she had a long list of work for me to do. We had agreed on a set price per hour to do the job and I had worked diligently on her request. At the end of the day when I was supposed to get paid, she paid me half of what we had agreed upon. Now I didn’t goof off and I had worked hard for her. When she gave me the money I looked at her and I was angry because she hadn’t paid the agreed upon price. When I was a kid I wasn’t a church goer and forgiveness went right out the window! (I came to Christ later in life.) When this happened I wasn’t going to take this lying down and I wasn’t happy. I was going to go back to her and give her a piece of my mind. So I went back and I said, “You are a …...” and called her a name. What I said to her I did out of anger.
So after this she calls my house and talked with my dad. Now you have to picture this, my dad was a first generation burly truck driver. He was a “John Wayne” type…he was old school and he was tough but he was fair. He took me aside and he said, “Will, I understand your anger. This woman was wrong, but when you went back and insulted her, you were wrong also and two wrongs don’t make a right.” My dad gave me the option to go back and apologize and encouraged me to let this go and to forget about her. I chose not to apologize and I never saw her again. As an adult I wouldn’t have done this, I would have let it go and turned it over to God.
Jesus says in Luke 6:29, “Love our enemies…and from anyone who takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt. Give to everyone who begs to you and if anyone takes away your goods do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
A couple of years ago, I decided to fix an antique motorcycle that I had, it needed a new clutch. It was an expensive part. So I called the shop that I use and ordered the part. He looked at my account and saw that I was a good customer and told me I could pay for it at the end of the job. Two months later the work was done, and when I got the bill, I realized he didn’t charge me for the clutch. I thought he had charged my account, so I waited for my statement to see if it would be on my account. He didn’t charge me for it so I went back to the repair shop with my account statement and invoice and informed them they hadn’t charged me for the clutch. The man looked at me funny and I said to him “Go look on the computer and look it up.” He came back about 5 minutes later with a disturbed look on his face and said, “We didn’t charge you for the clutch.” I handed him my bank card and said, “I would like to pay for it now.” After the transaction the man said to me, “A lot of people would have taken the clutch and not said anything.” I told him, “I’m not everyone. And second of all, I'm glad you repair antique motorcycles. I’m going to support your business and I’m not going to steal from you.”
I make mistakes, I’m not perfect….just like all of us but I’m not going to blow it in this area.
At my job we have a sign and it says, “See wrong, do right.” ……….
I have a friend of mine in law enforcement and he shared this with me, “You can tell the essence of someone by what they do when no one’s watching them.” I had another friend in law enforcement and he shared this with me, “If everyone obeyed the Ten Commandments I wouldn’t have a job. We would have no need for police, lawyers, judges or prisons.” Is he right?....... I believe he’s right!
In today’s gospel, this phrase jumps out at me,
“Whoever is faithful in a very little, is faithful also in much. And whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” Can God trust you with “a little”?....... If he can, he will trust you with much more.
We are created by God, to love God and to serve God by serving others. Love God and love our neighbor. We cannot fulfill our God-given purpose if we focus our lives around the accumulation of wealth rather than loving and serving God. We’re all familiar with the phrase, “We can’t take it with us.” But we can take our relationship with God, through Jesus, his teachings and his knowledge to use what we have to help others. Giving with no strings attached, as Jesus does for us.
God is with us here and now in Word and Sacrament. Every time we come up to the communion rail we are fed with the body and blood of Jesus the one who forgives us and extends to us eternal salvation freely as a gift. When we consume the bread and wine we become more like Him. God gives us his Son, Jesus who paid the ultimate price. We were paid for with a price….by the blood and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on the cross.
We are people that live IN this world but we are not OF this world…. We are called as believers in Christ to rise above the world and earthly things.
Our message today is about making good choices…allowing God’s Holy Spirit to live in us and to help us to make good decisions. It would be my prayer that God would guide and help all of us to do this. Amen.