February 21, 2024


One Body, Many Gifts - How Are You Using Yours?

One Body, Many Gifts - How Are You Using Yours?
Trinity Lutheran Church, Greeley, Colorado
One Body, Many Gifts - How Are You Using Yours?

Feb 21 2024 | 00:19:47


Show Notes

Second week of Lent, Matins Service

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:10] Speaker A: Grace, mercy and peace be to you from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Oh, I'm on the wrong page. Whoops. Here we go. All right, so our reading is from romans twelve, and I want to focus on a couple of parts of this. So first of all, listen to this, okay? He says, as in one body, we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function. So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another, having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. If prophecy in proportion to our faith, if service in our serving, the one who teaches in his teaching, the one who exhorts in his exhortation, the one who contributes in generosity, the one who leads with zeal, the one who does acts of mercy with cheerfulness. Okay, so let's say that again. Another. So St. Paul says you are all members of one body. What's a body? Well, I have one. Here it is. You have one. [00:01:40] Speaker B: Right. [00:01:40] Speaker A: And there are lots of parts of my body, right. Got a hand, and I got fingers and an arm. [00:01:48] Speaker B: Right. [00:01:48] Speaker A: But they all do different things. [00:01:49] Speaker B: Right. [00:01:49] Speaker A: My feet are for walking and standing, things like that. My hands maybe for holding on to things. [00:01:58] Speaker B: Right. [00:01:59] Speaker A: Does that make sense? So we have lots of parts of our body, and they all do different things, but they all have a job, don't they? Okay, so St. Paul says you are members of a body. Wait a second. [00:02:12] Speaker B: Right? [00:02:12] Speaker A: Like a hand or a foot or an arm or a leg. They're all good, and they all have purposes. They all have a purpose. And what's the body he's talking about? He's talking about Jesus Christ. We are his body. He's our head. What does the head do? It leads the body. [00:02:32] Speaker B: Right. [00:02:32] Speaker A: So my hand usually doesn't do anything without my head telling it to. Does that make sense? And my hand and my foot can do different things at the same time? Kind of. That's about as good as I could do, maybe, right. And it's because there's one head controlling both of them. And as I walk, I can feel that if I think about it, that my feet and my toes and my legs and my hips and everything's doing something. And all the while, while I talk, I'm going like this. So all kinds of things going on at the same time, all guided by my head. Right, exactly. Good. So what happens if my body parts are not following my head? That's good. Yeah, they could just. But actually, my head is telling them to be still, so they're all listening very well, right? Okay, what happened? I mean, it's hard to imagine, right? What if all of a sudden I was like. And fell down? Even that, that's guided by my head, right? Like, what if my arm were just doing stuff I didn't want? Okay. Yeah. So this is what St. Paul is trying to say, right? That we all following Christ. Following Christ. We're all listening to him, right? We're all guided by him, guided by his spirit. That's what it means to live by faith in the son of God. It means to look to Jesus and to follow him wherever he leads. That's what faith means. So Paul says you are each members of a body, the body of Christ, and that means you have a job to do, just like every single part of my body has a job to do. And they're all really important, okay? There are all kinds of things that God gives us to do. And you can think in terms of, like, are you a brother, are you a son, a daughter? Are you a sister? Are you a student? [00:04:53] Speaker B: Right? [00:04:53] Speaker A: You have a teacher to respect, okay? So all of these things are the jobs that God has given to you. And then beyond that, there are so many special ways in which God will use you throughout your life to be a blessing to other people, okay? And following Christ, each one of us following Christ together in a community, we're all pulled together in love. Following Christ, we're all united as one body, okay? Following Jesus. Now, there are times, let me tell you, there are times when you don't really want to do what you've been given to do, right? We've got all these tasks. Do you ever not want to do your work as a student? Is it ever hard to do? Yeah, probably, right? Is it ever hard to listen to your parents? Maybe, right? I mean, I've experienced that. I have parents now. I'm grown up, right? But now I'm a father, and that gives me different responsibilities. I need to be training my children. I need to be providing for them, things like that. Do you think it's ever hard to. Do you think I ever just maybe don't want to do my job? [00:06:16] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:06:17] Speaker A: Okay, so this is something that we all experience, right, that sometimes we're not so excited about doing what God's given us to do. Sometimes we just don't want to do it, and sometimes we do something else instead. Have you ever been sitting, doing your homework? Or maybe you're supposed to be doing work. Not homework, work. In school, you're at your desk, all the students are at their desks, and you just don't really want to do it. And you say, may I get a drink of water? Have you ever done that? Okay, don't go and do that today just because I said that. All right? But here's the deal. Sometimes we think, why don't I want to do, I'm tired, I'm thirsty, I'm hungry. [00:07:09] Speaker B: Right? [00:07:10] Speaker A: Or, I want to do this other thing. [00:07:12] Speaker B: Okay? [00:07:12] Speaker A: And sometimes those are good things, but they're not what we're supposed to be doing right now. They're not what we've been given to do by God. [00:07:20] Speaker B: Right? [00:07:21] Speaker A: So maybe a friend is having a hard time at school and they need us to talk with them, but you don't really want to do it. And maybe you can think of something else to do. [00:07:34] Speaker B: Right? [00:07:34] Speaker A: There are all kinds of examples because this happens all the time. And adults, especially. Once you have a phone, well, then anytime you want, you can do. I don't know, maybe some of you don't have a smartphone. Good for you. That's good. No, not really. I have a smartphone. I'm just saying, we have so many opportunities to distract ourselves with things other than the thing given to us in the present moment to do. And there are times when we're not really wanting to do the right thing either. So listen to this. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good. This is a struggle from moment to moment. You got to be on your toes for this, right? Abhor, hate, detest. That's like, push it away. [00:08:44] Speaker B: Okay. [00:08:45] Speaker A: What is evil? So are you on your toes to recognize, gossip and go, oh, no. [00:08:52] Speaker B: Right? [00:08:55] Speaker A: Not always right. Are you on your toes to recognize evil and want to just push it away? Are you on your toes to love what's good and want to run to it? That word, how does it say it in the ESV here? Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Yeah, hate the evil. Cling to what is good is what the Niv say. Both of them are like this. Holding. It's like pulling something to yourself. Pulling yourself to something. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Now, this takes energy, doesn't it? [00:09:39] Speaker B: Right? [00:09:39] Speaker A: If we're talking about, like, clinging to what is good or hating what is evil, detesting it, it takes energy. It just does. [00:09:50] Speaker B: Right? [00:09:53] Speaker A: So that's why we named a very slow animal sloth, right? Because if we're lacking the energy to push away, what's evil or cling to what is good. A word for that in scripture is sloth. And it shows up here in almost the next verse. Do not be slothful in zeal. Do not be slothful in zeal. Be fervent in spirit. Serve the Lord. Okay, has anybody ever seen a sloth? Yeah. Have you seen it in real life? Yeah. They are so slow. It's funny. You just watch them. And this looks like it's in slow motion. Has anybody seen Zootopia? I've only seen the scene with the sloths. Because somebody showed it to me. But it is so funny because they are so slow, right? And then somebody tells a joke. And the sloth goes, ah, yes, that's right, that's right. [00:11:10] Speaker B: Right. [00:11:10] Speaker A: He starts to laugh and it's just so slow. It's really funny, right, okay, but if you think about being slothful. Let's say with detesting what is evil. And holding fast to what is good. Well, then it's kind of like something evil is happening. And you're like, well, I don't really. Yeah, it's okay, whatever, right? Or you see what's good, right? Maybe you're hearing about the love of God shown to us through Jesus. And you're like, okay, all right. So sloth is not really caring. But zeal is like caring. Okay. The word in the language that's originally written in Greek. It's one way to translate it is eagerness. Like, woohoo. [00:11:59] Speaker B: Right? [00:12:00] Speaker A: Eagerness. Or with detesting what's evil? It's like, get out of here. That'd be eagerness. Right, okay, so not the sloth, but actually just being ready, having energy. Energy, eagerness, excitement, feeling the seriousness of things. That's really important. Ancient Christians called this problem acidia. Acidia. And then later it was called sloth in the western tradition. And there are two ways that we can get caught up in this. One is to just become sort of despondent. And not really care about anything. And that's maybe typically what we think of with sloth. Like, I'm just lazy. I'm going to sit in bed all day. But the other is actually to be slothful spiritually. But kind of deal with that by busying ourselves in our daily life. So maybe you have a moment where you don't really know what to do. And so you jump on your phone. If you really thought about it. Maybe there are some good things you could be doing. That God has given you to do. Right? Or you just feel like there are too many things to do. And so you don't do anything and you watch Netflix or I guess maybe that would be more the despondent not doing anything. There's a very active, busy way of dealing with this spiritual malaise, this spiritual sloth as well, and that can look like we're doing good things. It's like, well, I'm just providing for my family by putting all my time into gardening and I just have to figure out whatever it is. We can find things to do. We can find things to do, but, well, that can inhibit our ability and can keep us from being able to focus spiritually. [00:14:06] Speaker B: Yes, kai. [00:14:11] Speaker A: Exactly, like going on your tablet and playing games or something like that. Like just to do something. Okay, but what could you be doing instead? Well, one of the things you could be doing is praying. Praying. One way to be eager. Have you ever thought about this? That one way that you're eager is when you get really hungry. What are you eager for? Food. [00:14:43] Speaker B: Right? [00:14:44] Speaker A: On Thanksgiving day, do you eat a lot of cereal bowls and bowls of cheerios for lunch so that you're really, really full and then when Thanksgiving dinner comes, you just kind of sit there? No, right? Maybe you're hungry and your parents tell you, no, we're going to have a big dinner. We don't need to eat that much because we're going to have a big dinner because, well, why? Because if you are hungry when dinner comes, then you're like, woohoo. I'm excited for this, which is kind of the point of thanksgiving, to celebrate together, be excited together, right? How many of you can eat really fast when you're hungry? Now, you know, it's not good manners to eat really fast, but if I'm not careful and I'm really hungry and I come to dinner, that food might, whole plate of food might be gone. Just. Have you ever had that experience? Have you ever had the experience, I'm sure you have, where you get to dinner and maybe you had a donut because it was lutheran schools week and your parents put a plate of food in front of you. You're like, do I have to eat this? You're like the sloth. Your parents are saying, just eat. [00:16:07] Speaker B: Right? [00:16:08] Speaker A: Have you ever had that experience? You're not excited because you're not hungry. Okay, so here's the cool thing. Adults especially, maybe try it out sometime. But everybody think about hunger as eagerness. When you're hungry, your body is eager and you can actually use that. You can use hunger, this bodily eagerness. If you pray, for example, look to Jesus and think of all that he's done for you, that he died on the cross for you, and he promised you life, and he forgave your sins, and he's given you identity as his child. Like, you are a child of God, and God loves you, and he's given you really cool things to do, really cool things like be a sister or a brother or a son or a daughter or someday maybe a father or a mother or a grandfather or a grandmother. [00:17:06] Speaker B: Or. [00:17:09] Speaker A: Maybe you have a job and you serve people in that job, and you can do that in faith, in service to God, out of thanks for everything he's done for you. And if you find yourself hungry while doing a task or while one way you can go with it is go, I want food, and I want it now. And you're irritable, and you could get angry and things like that, okay? But if you look to Christ in faith, if you look to Christ in faith, you can think about being eager for Christ, right? Eager in faith. Do not be slothful in zeal. Be fervent in spirit. Fervent in spirit. So that's part of why in lent, we might give things up. We might fast. [00:18:04] Speaker B: Okay? [00:18:04] Speaker A: It's always paired with prayer. It's paired with prayer because what we're doing is using a physical practice to help our spiritual life. Just like when I come up to the altar, I go like this. Why do I do that? What's that doing? I'm not pushing a button with my head, right? What am I doing? Really? Well, what I'm doing is by bowing with my body. I'm teaching my heart to honor God. Okay? And it's the same thing by giving something up or by giving up food for a time. I'm doing something with my body to train my heart to be eager for God. And that eagerness, ultimately, like, where it actually comes, is the draw of God's love for us, that he sent his son Jesus to you to die for you, to make you his child, to give you forgiveness and life and everything. That's something to get really excited about and really eager for. So as we try to train ourselves for eagerness, what we're really trying to do is blunt the weapons of the devil. Take away the kinds of things that would make temptation stronger for us as we look to Jesus, as we follow his example, fasting and praying in the wilderness for 40 days. In Jesus name, amen.

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