17/05/17 - Pastor Young
When I was in high school, one of my favourite things was the sight of a TV at the centre of the classroom. Even if the content was somewhat boring, it meant a respite from the barrage of information the days usually brought.
In one class in particular, we were treated to the unusual choice of a movie that most of the students were happy with. Our teacher put on The Matrix after some discussion about the violence and adult themes, and he immediately had a captive audience.
Now, if you've never seen this movie before, the basic premise is that machines control the world. They use humans as a source of energy, and the reality that humans experience is an artificial program to keep them docile. A small group of revolutionaries rises up, of course, and the humans go to war against the machines.
Apart from the tenuous link that the movie had with the maths class we watched it in, one scene in particular stays with me. In it, a man who is a traitor against the humans eats a steak, which he knows is not real, but he decides that living this unreal, temporary life is better than going to war.
This past Sunday, we heard the sermon that Jesus gave on the plain. Jesus speaks of an upside-down kingdom, and His words seem foreign and somewhat suspect to us. We are called on to love constantly, especially our enemies. How can we He extol us on virtues, when they won't fill hungry stomachs?
The steak seems so juicy, so tantalising.
But the rewards that the rich seek in this life now are limited to this life. There is a greater reality than the one that we can touch and taste -- the kingdom of God is at hand. If you have experienced His love and mercy and grace, you know that it is greater than any food to fill our stomachs with, any drink to quench our thirsts. Those who would look to get their fill now will face tragic results when the kingdom of God comes in full.
Jesus tells of hope for those who are poor, hungry, weeping and persecuted. Woe is pronounced for those who are rich, full, laughing and well-spoken-of. Luke does not see the choice that the sermon levels at its hearers as a difficult one. Follow Jesus, for all who seek God with humility can find blessing. Don't be distracted by the promise of a steak that we know is not real.
This week, I implore you -- look not to the things that might immediately catch your attention. Fast results don't stand the test of time.
Instead, take time to build a firm foundation with me. Love deeply and constantly, giving graciously to those who can't give back. Forgive readily, and listen more than speaking. Do good to those who would not return it.
Superior love is the call of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Let your standard of love be greater than that of the world.
Committing to superior love with you,