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Matthew 9,9-13 35-10,1 - Ordinary People doing God's Work

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Ordinary People Doing God’s Work

Matt. 9:9-13; 35-10: 1

The Calling of Matthew

9 As Jesus went on from there,

he saw a man named Matthew

sitting at the tax collector’s booth.

“Follow me,” he told him,

and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house,

 many tax collectors and “sinners” came

and ate with him and his disciples.

 11 When the Pharisees saw this,

they asked his disciples,

“Why does your teacher eat

with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said,

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor,

but the sick.

13 But go and learn what this means:

‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’

For I have not come to call the righteous,

but sinners.”

 

The Workers Are Few

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages,

teaching in their synagogues,

preaching the good news of the kingdom

and healing every disease and sickness.

 36 When he saw the crowds,

he had compassion on them,

because they were harassed and helpless,

 like sheep without a shepherd.

37 Then he said to his disciples,

“The harvest is plentiful

but the workers are few.

38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,

to send out workers into his harvest field.”

 

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him

and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits

and to heal every disease and sickness.

I’m reminded of a story that I read.

A man was getting frustrated

when he was trying to fix his riding lawnmower,

because he didn’t have the right tools.

A neighbor who was watching him,

came over with a well-stocked toolbox

and offered his help to fix the mower.

After a short while the lawnmower

was working better than before.

In amazement the man said to his neighbor:

“You have some impressive tools in your box!

What do you make with all those tools?”

And the neighbor replied with a smile:

“Mostly friends!”

Indeed!

It’s amazing what a good set of tools can do

in the hands of one who knows how to use them.

Now, before you jump to conclusions,

I’m not suggesting that we

at the Springfield Heights Mennonite Church

have all the sharpest tools in the box

to fix the worlds problems.

However, as followers of Jesus Christ

we as a church are part of the our Master’s tool box

to bring hope and healing into a broken world.

When we are moved by compassion

for the needs of those around us

God promises to do great things

in the lives of people.

In our Scripture text we read

that Jesus was moved by compassion for the crowd

and he called twelve persons

to be his disciples.

Now, our reference check on these twelve men

reveals that these fellows were nothing to look at.

And these are exactly the people that Jesus called

to follow him and to do great things for God.

When Jesus picked his twelve disciples

and sent them out to preach

the Good News of God’s favor,

to cast out demons

and to heal the sick,

he did not loose any sleep over their qualifications.

One might think that the Gospel writer, Matthew,

would have mentioned that Jesus chose these men

because of their prior experience,

or because of their great potential

or their unusual spiritual insight.

But we are told none of that.

We are simply told the names of the twelve

that were called to follow him.

It seems to me that this story says more

about the nature of Jesus

than it says about the qualifications

of his followers.

It is just the way Jesus does these things.

Jesus calls fishers (4:18-22)…

He calls tax collectors (9:9)…

He calls subsistance-farmers…

He calls cabinet makers…

and factory workers…

He calls accountants and lawyers…

He calls students

with two or three part-time jobs…

He calls mothers and fathers…

He calls teachers and Seniors…

And there is no hint

that these people need any special attributes

that qualify them to be disciples.

Not only was Matthew a disgraceful tax collector,

but there is also Judas

who would betray him.

It is almost as if the gospel bends over backwards

to assure us that none of these people

were special in any way.

And yet, they were called to transform the world

through the power of God’s forgiving Love.

Jesus sent them out to do the very same things

he had been doing in the world.

The mission of Jesus is a tough and risky mission.

Jesus chose everyday,

Rough, tough, real, ordinary people

because the task he sent them out to perform

was so extraordinary.

As I look over the congregation,

I am looking at the same group of people

with the same qualifications

(or lack of qualifications)

of the disciples.

When we look at our backgrounds

and our qualifications,

who among us is really suited to do God’s work?

Who among us is qualified

to heal a broken world in Jesus' name?

Certainly not me!

However,

We may not be qualified,

but by God's grace,

we have the  authority to be his disciples.

Jesus sees more potential in us

than we see in ourselves.

Jesus helps us to see that the needs in the world

require some people

who have some worldly wisdom.

He can take the experiences

that we have had at work,

or at school,

or at raising a family,

and use those experiences to help others.

I know some of your stories,

          And the passion that many of you have

                   For ministry in this congregation

and community.

I heard of a woman who was called to be a disciple.

She had spent most of her life raising a family.

One day she looked up and her family was gone.

There was no longer anybody there

who needed her.

She had all but lost the meaning for her life.

So she presented herself at her church,

asking to be given something to do.

She said to the Pastor,

"Unfortunately, I haven't had

any real work experience.

I'm afraid there is not much

that I could be useful for in the church."

She was wrong.

As a mother of four children,

she had wonderful organizational skills.

Those skills were used to organize the church's

first Habitat for Humanity work team.

She was good at organizing people,

getting people to make commitments,

and following up on their commitments.

These skills, learned as a mother,

proved to be very useful to the church

in its business of doing God’s work.

         

From what I observe,

this is usually the way that Jesus works.

Jesus seems to delight in taking ordinary,

everyday people,

people who do not seem to have

all of the qualifications and credentials,

and selecting them to do God’s work.

He promises us that he will give us what we need

to be faithful to him and his mission.

And then he sends us out into the world

with the mission of bringing a word of salvation

to a hurting world

and bringing healing for a broken people.

Jesus calls you and me today to be his disciples,

even though we may have

questionable qualifications,

and even though we have our own crosses to bear.

We may be limited by our lack of courage,

our lack of talent,

our lack of spiritual insight.

We may think that we don’t have the tools needed

to fix our broken world.

And yet, we have the promise of God’s presence

and the authority to be instruments of God’s Love

and mercy in our own community.

God wants each one of us to be part

of His work in the world.

How are you going to respond to God’s invitation?

Let us Pray

Lord, there are times when we wonder

why you chose people like us to be your disciples.

We have our limitations

(as if we need to remind you)!

So often we do not understand your desire for us;

our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak.

Our intentions are good

but we fail to follow through.

Yet, you have entrusted us with the message

of the love and Mercy of God;

to us has been given the great treasure

of the Good News.

Lord, let us hear your call

to be your servants in a world that is hurting. Help us to be a friend to a person in need.

Even though we may not have all the tools

to fix every problem,

we trust in your unfailing love and compassion.

Strengthen our faith

and make us fit to serve you

and our neighbors.

Amen


Worship Service – Friendship Sunday

June 13, 1999

Psalm 33:20-21

Gathering in God’s Presence

          Welcome &          Call to Worship             Henry Kliewer

          We’re singing Praises

·        Salvation

·         

          Offering & Hymn

Meditating on God’s Word

          Children’s Story                          Susanne Pankratz

          Scripture Reading                             Werny Unrau

          Sermon: “Ordinary People Doing God’s Work”

Ferdinand Funk

Response

          Guided Prayer                                  Henry Kliewer

          Hymn

          Announcements

Sending

          Cry of My Heart

          Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow

Welcome To our Worship Service This Morning!

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship Sunday - Afternoon Program

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM                                  BBQ Lunch         

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM                          Clownface Jumper 1:30 PM                                                   Face Painting

1:30 PM                                  Clown & Balloon Animals 1:30 PM                                                 Music Group                                      

1:30 PM - 4:00 PM                                                                                     Volleyball, Soccer & Childrens’ games

at Princess Margaret School

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