Summary: You can't walk with God holding hands with the Devil

“The Gospel that we just heard picks up right where last week’s Gospel left off. Jesus had just finished teaching the parable of the wealthy fool to the crowds who came out to listen to Him. He had been warning about worshiping the gifts instead of worshiping the Giver. His teaching is a warning to the wealthy who are tempted to fall in love with the things they have. It is also a warning to the rest of us who are tempted to fall in love with the things we want.” ( J Batchelor )

There is a small church within easy walking distance from our house in the Coal Town area of New Castle. I go by there several times a day. In 42 years of driving or walking by, I have never been in the sanctuary. I have attended a few neighborhood ice cream socials and a spaghetti dinner here and there but never a worship service. In spite of this, the church ministers to me – and others -- by way of a sign out front, similar to our sign. They change the message frequently – sometimes in only a few days. The message is spiritual and biblical. Sometimes I stop and take a picture with my $5.00 collectors edition flip cell phone. The message displayed today is: “ You can't walk with God Holding Hands with the Devil. “ Walking with God is what Jesus was saying in Luke 9:23 “ If any one would come after me, he MUST deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow me. “

This is the essence of discipleship. Following Jesus. He tells us to make disciples in Matthew 28 :19 -20 “ therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. “ We are talking obedient followers of Christ, not casual, uncommitted, infrequent, marginal fans of Christ.

In today's reading Christ tells us not to worry about your life. Worry is holding hands with the devil. How do I know This? Because I have done this routine with the devil and I suspect that we have all succumbed to the sin of worry.

Remember concern --- accompanied with prayer --- is not worry. We are encouraged to to go to our father in prayer.

I had a little medical situation a few weeks past. I will summarize a little rather than bore you with all the details. I needed to make an appointment with my doctor in order to renew a prescription. But looming over this was a blood test that I should have done 15 months ago. So before I made the appointment I had the test. That very same day the doctor's office called and said I needed to be seen in the office. My mind started racing – they called the same day – what did they find? No one calls the same day unless it is a real problem--- Translate this as worry. I made the appointment – worried a few days more – then went to the doctor – everything was fine with the blood test. There was, however, – another assignment from 15 months past that I failed to complete. I complied. -- I worried ---- I submitted to their poking around while I was under anesthesia. Since I received no urgent phone calls, I assume everything is fine. My walk with the Lord those few days was on a bumpy path due to my worry. I was holding the Devil's hand for those days.

Jesus assures us that he will supply our needs. He doesn't mention wants or desires. Let's be honest – most of us have more than we need. I have made two trips to third world countries and can testify that millions of people get by with far less income and assets than we have. In verse 33 of today's reading Jesus suggests that we downsize by selling our possessions and give to the poor. He cautions once again –do not worry. He says that it is the pagans who worry about what they will eat, drink, and the clothing that they will wear.

In 74 plus years I had never read Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine until an acquaintance from my doughnut shop “think tank “ gave me me two copies to read. Was this maybe a hint? Regardless, it strikes me as pure decadence to spend that kind of money on clothing. Jesus calling us “ little flock “ tells us that our Father has given us the Kingdom. He tells us to put our treasures in heaven where they will not be taken by a thief or destroyed by moths. Our hearts follow our treasures. If we cherish our stuff where will our hearts be? Our check books tell the story of our lives. Do we give generously to God's work in the church. Do we support charities like Salvation army or Rescue missions. Do our checks go to children's hospitals providing free care for seriously ill children. Sometimes I can not fail to notice that charitable organizations run adds on TV asking for monetary help to care for poor children. Running before, after, or parallel on other stations are “save the animal adds. Now I like dogs and cats but should we support homeless hungry animals at the expense of homeless hungry children?

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