Summary: There’s a new reality TV show called, The Apprentice. The candidates are bright, the assignements are challenging and the reward is great. The one thing the candidates dread the most is meeting with Donald Trump in the board room and being told, "You’re f
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. NRSV
“The Apprentice” is a new, 15-episode, reality TV show in which 16 young candidates from all walks of life, all with very high IQ’s , some MBA graduates and some with very successful businesses of their own, endure difficult assignments each week. The winner of the competition, the best “apprentice” will be granted the dream job of a lifetime with The Trump Organization and a salary of $250,000. Each week the one of the apprentices is fired by Donald Trump himself.
The assignments are designed to test their intelligence, their skills their nerve and their street-smarts. Some are difficult, some are as simple as selling lemonade on the street. What amazes me is how these bright young people trip over each other, lie and betray in order to make it to the top. It’s interesting to watch how these intelligent young men and women make the most stupid mistakes in their desire to outshine each other. What mostly blinds some is their greed, their lust for power. The nice ones are usually fired for not attacking nor defending themselves. The one thing they all dread the most is going into that Board Room and being told by Donald Trump, “You’re fired.”
As we Baptize this beautiful baby this morning, she indeed becomes a full member of the Body of Christ, but also an apprentice in Christianity. When we take a look at our children and even our youth this morning, it’s easy for some of us to consider them as the “Apprentices” in our church. But it takes a Gospel like the one we just heard to make us realize that we are all “apprentices” in this journey toward holiness. Most of us here this morning are only but beginners in this Way called Christianity.
It’s wonderful to come to church, to sing hymns, to listen to this heavenly music. It’s easy to lift our hands and voices in praise of our God, to proclaim these awesome Scripture passages and to nod our heads in agreement with the teachings of Jesus. Being here is the easy part.
It’s like when the TV apprentices are celebrating in their plush Manhattan apartment, feeling important, intelligent, chosen. We are here and we feel so cool, so good, so holy so comfortable.
But then comes the test. We step out of these doors into a world filled with challenges and temptations. People cut us off, or trip us, a relative decides to phone and insult us, a co-worker criticizes us, or we discover that someone we trusted declared us their enemy. It is then that we have to remember who we are and whose we are. Jesus is Lord of our lives not only inside the four walls of a church building. Jesus is Lord of our lives in all circumstances of our lives. And Jesus teaches us this morning: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
It’s not easy being a Christian, nobody said it was. I don’t think there is any other religion that teaches what ours teaches. Yes, many religions teach to love your neighbor, to be kind and gentle and pure, but to love to truly love those who hate us and insult us, only Jesus Christ teaches and empowers us to do just that.
And the Gospel goes on to say, if you love only those who love you, what merit is there in that. Even sinners of the worst kind, racists, thieves, hypocrites, murderers they love their families and friends! We’re called to be different . We are called to something higher, something greater. We are called to bless those that curse us. Sounds impossible doesn’t it? But if when say yes to the Spirit of Jesus inside of us the power of that awesome kind of love is released. Only Jesus can empowers us to love, to accept to forgive, to pray for our enemies and to not take things so personally.
How can you love someone who’s hurting you? Are you called to sit and take the lies and insults like a doormat? Is Jesus saying you must allow someone to lie, cheat, hurt and victimize you? No. God is always near the brokenhearted. Do what ‘s prudent and safe to protect yourself. Let your light and your truth shine like the morning sun and above all, harbor no resentment. Hatred and resentment are like a poison that contaminate the spirit. Pray for those who hate you. Of course it isn’t easy but it’s possible with God. Are you being rejected, persecuted, wronged? Fall on your knees, put your face to the ground and weep until the love of God is shed abroad in your heart. Weep and moan until the negative energies that are being cast your way turn into blessings for those who hate you.