Gospel Reflections for Sun August 11th

6 August 2013

 

"Life is like a box of chocolates ..." 


Luke 12:32-40     


Maybe Forrest Gump had it right when he said “Life is like a box of chocolates.” Imagine this. Every single person who has ever lived or will live on this planet, has had delivered to their home, before they even arrived on the earth, a gift-wrapped box of chocolates as a free gift , just waiting to be unwrapped and consumed.* This is no ordinary box of chocolates, but a self-refilling box, such that when we taste and enjoy and share with others to encourage them to dip into their box, our supply will always be replenished.

That I believe is a fantastic image of how our God works. But then every so often, just when we think we have this God stuff all sorted out, along comes a difficult reading like this one to throw a spanner in the works.

On the one hand we celebrate our understanding of the fact that we don’t have to DO anything to be in God’s good books, but around the next corner we get a reading like this shoved in our faces. One moment we had reinforced our free “box of chocolates” gift from God (v32) … “your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (note the past tense) … the next moment, there seems to be strings attached (v32) … “sell your possessions and give to the poor..” What’s going on here? Suddenly the “don’t have to do anything” model of God stuff gets thrown out the window again.

Surely Jesus is not telling us to sell our possessions and give to the poor? Ok –here we go again – taking what Jesus said and watering it down to fit our comfortable Western lifestyle! But, it simply does not make sense though, to interpret this literally.  We cannot dispute the free gift … saved by grace … message. That is indelibly plastered across the whole of the New Testament, so we can be confident that Jesus is not giving us a conflicting story here. Perhaps the problem then is this … the “don’t have to do anything” formula to earn God’s favour too easily gets twisted to become … “there is nothing that we should do in response to God’s love for us”. Perhaps Jesus is reminding us, that we demonstrate that we have a life in Him, only when we reflect a response of love and care for those around us. Through and in Him, we should automatically look beyond ourselves and share what we have in order to enhance the well-being of others.

The perpetual presence of the box of chocolates does not depend on our faith or anything we do, the gift is always there. We simply unwrap and consume! So as we enjoy the taste and texture of God’s love for us may we through the Spirit, be moved to responsive action.

Lord, as we go about the business of showing people Jesus in our Lutheran schools, help us to "share a chocolate" this week with someone and let them know that they too have their own box ready and waiting!

Nev

* Imagery borrowed from Robert Farrar Capon “The Fingerprints of God”

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