Summary: In God’s kingdom here on earth, we are called to labor in loving service to make a difference.
FROM THE MOUNTAIN TO THE MISSION
Text : Luke 9:28 - 43
Someone (Barbara Klassen) tells the story about her “ ... great-great uncle who lived to the ripe old age of 106. He was healthy and spry and took joy in chauffeuring his less able-bodied senior friends around town. On his 100th birthday his driver’s license came up for renewal. When he went to the licensing Bureau, the skeptical clerk said, “You’re 100 years old! What do you need a driver’s license for?” ... [Her] uncle completely, nonplussed, replied, “Somebody has got to drive the old folks around!” He continued to have a legal driver’s license for the next five years.”
(Edward K. Rowell and Bonne L. Steffen ed. Humor For Preaching And Teaching. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, p. 152). We find humor in this story when an older person calls his peers old folks. Another thing that we find in this story is what seems to be the story of a man who never quit serving others.
Someone (Zan Holmes) reminds us of our marching orders as Christians: "Christianity is a come-and-go affair. We come up to the mountain, but we must go back down again. We come to worship, but we must go to serve." (Raymond McHenry. ed. McHenry’s Quips, Quotes And Other Notes. [Source: Author’s files]. Third Printing. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004, p. 38). We enter church on Sunday morning to worship and we are supposed to depart to serve. We live in a world where people would rather enjoy the leisure of some things instead of the necessity and the mandate to labor for other things. In God’s kingdom here on earth, we are called to labor in loving service to make a difference. We are called to share in Jesus’ ministry by preaching the good news to the poor, the prisoners, the oppressed not just with our lips, but also by the way we live.
THE MOUNTAIN TOP
Who does not like to be on top of the world? We all have ambition that drives us to do our best and be our best. When I was a kid we used to playa a game called the king of the mountain. We usually played this game on a small hill. The object was this---whenever you got to the top of the mountain [small hill] you would push away all those who were seeking to become the next king of the hill. Consider ambition and its negative side. The Living Bible paraphrases Proverbs 27:20 like this: “Ambition and death are alike in this: neither is ever satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20 TLB). The New International Version translates Proverbs 27:20 like this: 20. “Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man” (NIV). The King James Version says: “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied”. Summing up the meaning of Proverbs 27:20, from the different versions of the Bible, we can conclude that ambition and the unsatisfied eyes compare with, hell and destruction. The point is that we spend money for things that are not bread and labor for things that do not satisfy (Isaiah 55:2) when we choose other than God’s way to be filled and satisfied.
How does the ambition to get on top of the mountain compare with our calling? It seems that Jesus calls us all to go to the top of the mountain and worship and seek God’s guidance to do God’s will. One of the purposes of prayer is to seek God’s guidance. We seek to do God’s will through obedience. We have to remember that those three disciples were instructed by God in the appearance of the enveloping cloud to listen to Jesus: A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him" (Luke 9:5 NIV). Listening to Jesus means that we take up crosses and follow Jesus by denying ourselves through loving service to others. Listening to Jesus also means that we invest our time, our talents, and our gifts remembering that we must never quit because Jesus’ love never ends! Listening to Jesus also means that the harvest is plentiful while the laborers are few which is why we must pray for more laborers as well as work compassion and diligence to make disciples.
Are we sleeping on the job? These three disciples were found to be sleeping the job. Jesus took them up to the mountain to pray. The King James Version said that the disciple had heavy eyes which obviously seems to be metaphor for sleepiness leading to sleep. This is not the first time that the disciples fell asleep, these same three also fell asleep when Jesus asked them to watch and pray when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Someone (A. T. Robertson) not only makes this same point, but he also points out how others often compare with the disciples. “The same word is used of the eyes of these three disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:43) and of the hearts of many (Luke 21:34)”. (A.T. Robertson. Word Pictures In The New Testament: Volume 2 – Luke. Rio, WI: USA: The Ages Digital Library Reference, Ages, Software Version 1.0 © 2000). Probably none of us like to talk about how we have sometimes been sleeping when Jesus had a job for us to do whether it was to watch and pray or to be in service in one way or another. Why is it that we fall asleep today? Do we fall asleep because the “workers are dreaming as opposed to dreamer’s working”? (David N. Mosser. ed. The Abingdon Preaching Annnual 2004. Thomas Lane Butts. “Inspiration And Application”. Nashville:Abingdon Press, 2003, p. 89). Do we fall asleep because of our indifference or our prejudice? Do we fall asleep because we are too busy? Do we fall asleep because we make excuses? It seems that we are a lot more like those disciples than we would like to admit.