Summary: A sermon about living in the Kingdom of God.
“An Invitation to Love”
A few summers ago, David Timothy bought an old van with 265,000 miles on it, with the help of his wife and a friend.
They named it the SoupMobile and started taking food to the homeless of Dallas, Texas.
Timothy had wanted to open a soup kitchen for a long time.
In the name of Christ, “SoupMan” provides over 3,000 meals each month.
Volunteers, donations from some restaurants and grocery stores, and his own willingness to devote 60 to 70 hours a week to the ministry sustain his work.
"He does things for us that other people would not do, like bring us food, clothes, water, juice, cakes, dog food, blankets," said a 36-year-old woman.
He manages to find toys for homeless children on their birthdays.
"He doesn’t have to come out here," commented one homeless man, "but he comes out here because he’s got God in him."
“He’s got God in him.”
Could there be any greater privilege, any higher calling?
He’s got God in him.
Sounds great doesn’t it?
But what does it mean in reality?
Last Monday, Rick Bonner, who works daily with the poor and homeless of this area had been contacted by a family who are living in one of the extended stay hotels.
They were about to get kicked out of their room, because they had run out of money.
They needed $45.00 to pay their bill.
While we were making sandwiches on Rick took up money from the amazing group of folks who serve in our feeding ministry.
A little while later Rick called to tell me that when he knocked on the hotel room door to give the man the money, the guy nearly cried.
He told Rick that he didn’t have a penny in his pocket.
He has a wife and a 3-year-old child.
He has two full-time jobs, and he was on his way out the door to drive up to Knoxville to work his second job.
Rick gave the man and his family some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and said good night.
Earlier, when Rick was trying to scrape together money to take to this family Rick said to me: “Ken this is so hard isn’t it?
There is so much need.”
After he visited the family and told me what he had witnessed he said: “I guess it was worth it.”
Following Jesus is rarely convenient, but there is nothing more fulfilling.
It’s interesting that the rich young man asks Jesus how he can “inherit eternal life,” and Jesus invites him into a way of life which involves the right here and right now.
“Come, follow me.”
The Kingdom of God is not so much a place as it is a life.
It’s not so much a destination as it is a journey.
It’s about transformation and character change.
It’s about being in relationship with Jesus and other people.
It’s about something that is already happening when we take the first steps in following Christ.
It’s about allowing God to live in us and love through us.
It’s about loving God and neighbor.
A man named F. Willis Johnson, in a book called “Holding Up Your Corner” says that “Loving God and Neighbor means you don’t want anyone to have any less than anyone else.”
With all the temptations and demands of our world bearing down on us, this might cause us to cry out with the disciples: “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus might answer us: “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…”
But then He might add: “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
We can’t enter the Kingdom of God on our own.
We can’t save ourselves.
The only way to enter God’s Kingdom is to answer God’s invitation.
After all, God is the One Who makes the possible the impossible.
We see this happen when Jesus heals the sick or brings dead people back to life.
We see this happen when a poor widow who is down to her last mite, gives all she has.
We see this happen when another woman anoints the soon-to-be crucified Jesus with priceless perfume.
We see this happen when Jesus, deep in prayer, makes the decision to give His life on the Cross for our salvation.
It is God Who saves.
It is God Who invites us into His salvation life.
In verse 21 of our Gospel lesson for this morning we get a hint at what Jesus is doing for the rich young man, and for everyone else who will ever read this story.
It says that “Jesus looked at [the rich young man] and loved him.”
And then Jesus said to him: “One thing you lack.