Loving Generously – The Banquet
Sermon by Rev. Steven McClelland on Luke 14: 12 – 24. Focus on how to build an intimate Christ like community. Check out Rasaan & the Choir.
Last year we looked at the Stewardship series on Living Generously, through the eyes of the Donovan family which challenged notions of giving from a place of comfort and ease and had has look at what generosity truly entails from a Biblical perspective.
This challenge began a process of reflection and transformation as Frank and his family learned to be generous not only out of their financial abundance but in all areas of their lives, even when it means risk and sacrifice.
In this series we will see the Donovan family move from transactional generosity to relational generosity. Their desire to give to those in need begins to break down the walls that separate the haves from the have nots. The Donovan’s find that once you walk down this road of generosity it involves far more than your check book it involves your very being. The essential theme that will be running through our stewardship season this year will be give your life away so you can gain the life of Christ.
As we move through this series with the Donovan family we want you to assess these areas of your life:
- Assess who you are inviting into your life and home.
- Assess what you own. And who is the real owner you or God?
- Assess what walls may be in your life that keep you from living relationally with others.
- Realize the resistance that living into Christ can bring but also the joy that it gives.
Video – The Banquet
Most of us, if we’re being honest, have to acknowledge that the people we invite into our lives are the people who make us feel comfortable – people a lot like ourselves. They may have different jobs and different personalities; but they tend to be similar to us in many other ways, like class, race and cultural background.
These types of groupings we call cliques. And they are very different from the type of community Jesus was trying to create. Last week we did a little experiment in worship where we had everyone pair up with someone they didn’t really know and share there 2 greatest joys and 2 greatest worries and then pray with one another. This is the type of community Jesus is trying to create. He models for us a redemptive community where a tax collector like Matthew and a zealot like Judas can get along with one another for a greater good and greater purpose.
Jesus hung out with people in power like Nicodemus, and a Roman centurion but also with people who were ostracized and powerless – people like Zaccheus, the tax collector and a woman caught in adultery and with the disabled and demon possessed.
So the first step in developing a generous life is recognizing that we all have a problem. Our relationships do not look much like Jesus’ relationships.
It’s not hard to see this in our own time and place. Public gatherings, and meals in particular have always been places where social hierarchies become visible. Even when we were children, school cafeterias made it abundantly clear who was popular and who was not. Last week at our BBQ luncheon we attempted to break down some of those barriers and we hope to do more of that as move toward learning how not only to give but also to love generously.
Some people only want to sit at the head of the table or at tables where every seat is reserved from people like themselves. Think modern weddings where everyone has a name card and great care has gone into where each person will sit so they will fit in and be comfortable. But if you want real community, real intimacy you have to rip up the name cards.
Because God has already prepared a table for you and m in the presence of our enemies the psalmist says. So if you are on your way to church next week and you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift before the alter and then go and be reconciled with your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift to God. (Matthew 5: 23 – 24) Amen.