Summary: Saints are people saved by grace and who have a relationship with God. Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount," gives us a vision of how God’s grace transforms us in our daily lives.
Luke 6:20-31 “What a Saint Looks Like”
On this All Saints Sunday, our focus is on the people whom Jesus has gathered into the Church—past, present and future. We call ourselves: “The People of God,” “The Family of God,” and “The Children of God.” Theologically speaking we are “saints” people who have been saved by grace through faith for good works.
Many of us don’t believe that we quite fit in to the “saint” category. We have the misconception that saints are people who have cleaned up their outward lives—their act—to near perfection. They are people who, when they hit their finger with a hammer, smile and say, “Thank you, Jesus.” When an idiotic driver cuts in front of a saint, the first words out of the saint’s mouth are, “Bless you my child.” Saints never run short of money at the end of the month. They never lose their cool, and they have a puzzled look on their face when the topic of stress comes up. As inspiring as this picture of sainthood is, it is not an accurate portrayal of what makes a saint.
WE are saints—disciples of Jesus Christ. We are people who are united by one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Not only are we saints, but I believe that most of us want to be notable saints—people who touch others and have a positive impact on other people’s lives. I’m not talking about the Billy Graham’s, Robert Schuler’s, Mother Theresa’s, or Bishop Romero’s of life. I’m talking about the everyday saints—the ones who support us with their prayers, call us up and ask us how we are doing—and are willing to listen to our answer, and who lovingly give us constructive criticism and words of encouragement.
One characteristic that I have recognized in the lives of notable saints is that they are people who desire to make and impact and leave a legacy. They are people who are committed to being more than they thought they could be and all that God wants them to be. The gospel text for today, gives us some characteristics that can be cultivated in our lives to make us notable saints.
ATTITUDE OF STEWARDSHIP
Jesus gets right to the point when he speaks to his disciples. “Blessed are the poor,” he says, “Because their’s is the kingdom of heaven.”
Luke appears to understand Jesus words to mean that the poor (those in poverty) are in a better position than the affluent and wealthy—exactly opposite from what the world teaches. In part, this may be do to the fact that wealth cultivates a spirit of independence—I can take care of myself and I really don’t need God.
Most of us do not intentionally seek poverty—unless we decide to sell all that we have and give it to the poor and needy. So, our challenge is how to not allow money to control us, but to nurture an attitude of stewardship.
There are several things we can do to grow in our stewardship:
• We can remind ourselves and celebrate that all that we have is a gift from God
• We can decide to live simply—refusing to buy the biggest and best, or the most technologically advanced because we think it will dramatically improve our lives and make us happier.
• We can share our blessings from God with those who are in need and invest a part of our blessings in ministries that reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and change lives.
Saints to make and impact on other people tend to be generous people who allow themselves to have only a light hold on money and things.
HUNGER FOR WHAT IS IMPORTANT
Jesus continues his teaching by telling his disciples that those who are hungry are blessed, also, because they will be satisfied.
Again, Luke takes Jesus’ words literally and stresses God’s oneness with those who hunger, rather than see hunger as God’s judgment upon an unrighteous people.
Not many of us are willing to go hungry for Jesus—though admittedly a few less calories might be good for us. The rest of us need to develop a hunger for those good blessings that God offers us.
We crave a lot of things and most of it is junk food. We want the chocolate bars and French (freedom) fries of life—those things that make us fat, give us high cholesterol, and make us unhealthy. Instead we need to develop a hunger for the good blessings of God that give us health and wholeness.
Our appetite needs to include:
• A longing to be close to God—as the words of the song “Day By Day” says, “See Thee more clearly, To love Thee more dearly, Follow Thee more nearly, day by day.”
• A craving for God’s Word—that God may speak words of life to us.