Labor Day is not a celebration of how great our workforce is, it is a reminder that we are called to be something greater than we have been before. Hebrews 13 offers a similar call to the faithful. It is not a text of how great we are at living our faith, it’s a call to how much greater we should be as a people of faith.
When you hear the story from the ears of the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking, you begin to realize the Samaritan wasn’t seen to be such a “Good” guy. In fact, Jesus using the Samaritan as the faithful one was offensive at best. This kind of radical love is missed when we assume the Samaritan was just a kind passer-by.
In times of hardship, despair, and trials on the journey of faithfulness, we may wonder, God, what do you want from us?! We are not the first to ask such a question, nor are we the first to receive such an answer: act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord.
Even after receiving confirmation of Christ’s identity, the disciples continued to wrangle over rank and precedence, to try and limit who had the ability to speak God’s good news to the world, and they failed to exercise the power of Christ in their daily living and ministry. Sound familiar?
In an odd twist of humanity, we enjoy watching as other people fail. Perhaps this is why we focus on Peter’s sinking into the water. But we should not be so quick to watch his demise; he did after all walk on water. There’s a lot to be learned from Peter’s brief experience defying gravity, and we might be the more faithful for focusing on his success than his failure.
Jesus doesn’t sugar coat the call to faithfulness. He really expects us to sell our possessions and give the money to the poor. What does this mean for faithful disciples today?
Our nature is to read what makes us feel good about our faith. We stop reading when we feel like we’ve got our life right with God, and skip the hard texts that teach true holiness. This is one of those texts, which calls us to more than just a ‘personal relationship with God.’
Financial giving isn’t something we like to talk about – it ranks with religion and politics around the dinner table. Our hesitancy to talk about giving is a byproduct of our misunderstanding why we give. So let’s talk about it – why do you give?
Many will claim that spirituality is deeply personal, but the Biblical claim is that faithful spirituality is most authentic when shared in the body of Christ.
We tend to act, talk, and think in ways that acquiesce to societal pressures and norms. Yet, God calls us to get past the false pretenses and live in to our grace-given gifts. It takes intentional work to be authentic, but that is Paul’s teaching on living faithfully.