September 1: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Luke 14:1, 7-14
July 29, 2019 by Rev. Dr. Neal Presa
When we give, we want recognition. If it’s our end-of-year contribution or donation of old clothing with the Goodwill or Salvation Army, we want the tax-deductible receipt. If it’s a larger gift, a named opportunity with a plaque bearing our names or on a building will do just fine, thank you very much.
Jeremiah 2 and Luke 14 have an apt way of going to the heart issue when we pursue recognition of ourselves, of our efforts, or when we neglect that God has enabled us to live and to give: we will be like cisterns with a limited supply of water, or we will be like airline passengers who take someone else’s seat in the first class cabin later to be embarrassed when we are asked to move, or like the party host who only invites guests in hopes that he/she will receive an invitation in return.
In all those analogies, the bottom line is the same: the pursuit of self leads to the pursuit of nothing; we will be left empty-handed and empty-hearted.
Instead, God desires another arrangement: that we instead recognize that the Lord is in pursuit of us and has been pursuing us from the start. The Lord desires us, desires who we are, what He’s given to us. The Lord pursues us so that out of the wellspring of our God-given gifts and our God-given lives, we can devote our lives to those who are often not invited to the fancy-shmancy parties: the hungry, the crippled, the blind, the lame.
In short, God is stewarding our life so that we might be about serving others, serving those who are on the margins, who have been oppressed, who are forgotten, and in doing so, we will discover life: the life of God.