3 devotions based on the upcoming 18th Sunday after Pentecost
18th Sunday after Pentecost-Old Testament
TEXT: Isaiah 5:1-7
TITLE: “What More Could I Do?”
“What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? Isa. 5:4a
In the Johnny Cash song, ‘A Boy Named Sue,” a father abandons his son. But before leaving him, he gives him the awful name of ‘Sue!’ Supposedly, this name was to make him tough and help him through life. On the one hand it is sin that makes our lives tough! In the end, the bad father tells why he gave him that awful name. The son replies, “I threw down my gun and I called him my ‘Pa’ and he called me his ‘son!’ Father and son relationship restored and all turned out for the good! On the other hand, it’s forgiveness that makes life good; the kind of forgiveness that comes from Jesus!
Instead of abandoning and giving them an awful name, the good Father of the Children of Israel gave them His own awe-filled Name and did everything He could for them.
But instead being good and ‘fruitful,’ the Children of Israel were bad and ‘fruitless.’ We too were bad and we’re sinners. But God was intent to make us good; hence, He sent Jesus. He brought forgiveness, love and nothing but good! God could not have done anything more! Through Jesus, though were bad and are sinners, we’re forgiven and our relationship as His children restored; all for good! And, we who believe in Christ have been given His awe-filled Name; ‘Christian.’ Though life can be tough, it’s that Name and faith in Christ that’s made us strong. Praise God!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us fruitful through Your Spirit, in Jesus Name, Amen.
18th Sunday after Pentecost-Epistle
TEXT: Philippians 3:4b-14
TITLE: Seeking our Highest Goal
“Forgetting what’s behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil.3:14
John F. Kennedy once said, “We plan to go to the moon!” Many people at that time thought he was crazy. In the NASA space program, numerous astronauts were killed in various testings. Remaining astronauts and workers in program had to learn from their mistakes, put their failures behind them and press on toward their goal. Later that same decade, man walked on the moon.
Goals! It’s good to have them. They give us a sense of purpose and direction. We see goals in all forms of living; business, government, recreation and sports, as well as our personal lives. However, the highest possible goal we can seek is heaven! God’s Word calls us to ‘forget what’s behind us, namely our old sinful life, and to ‘press on’ and ‘strain’ toward what is ahead. With the aid of God’s Spirit we’ve been assured we’ve attained that goal even now! Fulfilling goals never come easy; hence, the ‘pressing’ and ‘straining.’ However, God’s promise: “Lo, I’m with you always” also assures us that though this world may cause us to strain, we’ve our Lord at our side. Step by step, one
day at a time till finally we hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Dear Heavenly Father, help me fix my eyes on Jesus as I seek my goal, in His Name, Amen.
18th Sunday after Pentecost-Gospel
TEXT: Matt. 21:33-46
TITLE: A Privilege, Not a Right
“Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Matt. 21:43
While growing up, I was allowed to use my parent’s car. They instilled in me it was never a right, but a privilege. One day, I was in a hurry and headed in a wrong direction so I made a quick u-turn. The only problem, my u-turn happened to catch the tail end of the car behind me; a car I never bothered to check for in my rear view mirror. I facetiously thought to myself, “Oh great, now my legs will be my mode of transportation for the remainder of my teen-age years!” To my surprise, they forgave me and allowed me another chance to drive, with a simple reminder-“drive more careful!”
In Jesus parable, He speaks of forgiveness and the giving of second as well as third chances. The tenants who managed the vineyard, though tenants, assumed it was their right of ownership rather than privilege to manage. This attitude led them to do what they wanted to the Owner’s emissaries which included killing the owner’s son. Jesus message was clear to the Pharisees-“You are those tenants!” Though they could have repented, they never did. Hence the words, “a wretched end for you!” were also directed toward them. Yet, those who answer God’s call to produce fruit with that which God gives us to manage will reap. We reap life now in His Spirit and life eternal. A privilege turned blessing!
Dear Heavenly Father, help me be faithful in my calling from You, in Jesus Name, Amen.