Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 10:34-42
Last Sunday I shared all kinds of weird things that I have done in my life. I shared them not because I was proud of them but because I felt sorry for them. It was my public repentance. At that time, I thought I was doing wonderful jobs to spread the Good News but I was a bad news!
The reason why I became a bad news to many people was that I misunderstood the teachings of Jesus. What Jesus meant was to “pay it forward” but I thought that I have to make my family my enemy! For example, when I read the Bible passage for today, I thought that I should fight with my family to be a “true” disciple of Jesus. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” When we read a passage like this, we think that we have to fight against our family members who are not Christians.
So, I broke up with my family members who did not support my decision to go to seminary. I made them my enemy. I thought I was loyal to Jesus. Jesus said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” These words are easily misunderstood when you are fired up for Jesus!
So I spent time with only those who supported my calling! Even Jesus said, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward” I said those supporters that they were also servants of God because they supported my seminary education!
However, I missed the whole point! I missed this last sentence in today’s Bible passage: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” The point Jesus made here was that we have to serve people beyond our comfort zone! We have to serve other than our family members! Let us expand our circle of love and “pay it forward” to change this world with Jesus love!
1. Who are the little ones that you did not pay attention to because of your love for your own family or church members?
2. How have you expanded your circle of caring beyond your own family and culture?