Fearless Generosity

Sermon synopsis for Sunday, November 8, 2015, Luke 4:16-21

We continue our discussion on “Fearless Generosity”. Last week we focused on “Fearless Living” which emphasized the fact that God has given each of us unique personalities, gifts and callings in life. We encouraged each other not be afraid of who we are and the gifts we have been given and our callings but rather to fearlessly express who we are and readily share the life and the callings that we have been given in the communities in which we live. Often we really want to do just that but are inhibited to express them because we fear what others may think about us so we quietly move through life and never share who we really are.

Today we focus on Fearless Serving. With that in mind we focus on the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke when he spoke at the synagogue in his own town of Nazareth and read from scripture which talked about his calling in life which was to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and to declare the year of the Lord, jubilee, not only for his own people but for the whole world.

Jesus was the ‘suffering servant’ as described by Isaiah the prophet! Later on he said that he had come not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.

This actually was quite upsetting for the people gathered that day. When Jesus said that the word he read was actually ‘fulfilled in their midst’ they talked about themselves that he actually had the audacity to declare himself the Messiah. The hometown boy they had known all these years. They knew his brothers and sisters and his parents. This was blasphemy and to suggest that he was to serve not only his own kind but all people in the world inspired them to want to throw him off the cliff and kill him.

It was the year of the jubilee for the Jews and it was customary during jubilee that all prisoners would be released, the poor and hungry fed, the widows and orphans cared for and all transgressions would be forgiven. And they were encouraged to live a life of service, caring and sharing and outreach.

Living a life of service, caring, sharing and reaching out to people in need is an opportunity that all of have. We however often don’t become involved in service of others because of our own hang ups about others. We are somehow led to believe that the poor of the world choose to be poor and those who are in prison deserve to be there and we want nothing to do with them. And providing for prisoners in our society has become an income producing proposition. We are building more and more prisons and we have less and less to do with them because of the privitization of prisons. We are frustrated with the people ahead of us at the grocery store who are cashing in their foodstamps and complain that our hard earned dollars support them. Rather than being happy that we can pay taxes that are used to support the poor and disenfranchised poor, we complain.

God invites us and calls us to a life of service and in the serving of others, gives us great joy for living. God gives us the courage to serve fearlessly–, not concerned about what others think. He blesses us in our service activity to give us lives that have new meaning as we fearlessly serve.

It would be well for all of us to continually be on the lookout for ways that we can be involved and give our lives for service. From our ‘worship service’ we can go out and continue to keep the worship going as we go to work in our communities to serve and love and spread the message of forgiveness and hope.

In communities where people fearlessly love and serve each other in all circumstances, life is always better. And the quality of life is enhanced.

God in Christ serves us to give all of us great ‘quality of life’. We encourage each other to do the same. Every community in which we find ourselves gives us great opportunity for fearless service, caring, sharing and outreach!