we are, because he first was
with his father,the word,
a breathe giving breathe, a prophet, sung over, loved over
a baby in a manger,
a child in a temple,
loved, fathered, befriended honoured fed,
a carpenter,alone, called baptised by John, by spirit, in Jordan’s river waters
in a desert,
deserted, alone, focused
we, his, become his
Mark 3:31-35 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. 32 There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.”
Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
life, breathe, run, walk
give you up at nine years of age because your widow father wants to remarry
they don’t think of love as a ‘favour’
they don’t not see you
or not listen when you are not speaking
they don’t make your sky darker among millions of stars
they are light
are a soft wave
a laugh that accepts
they don’t count your failings
forgives things, even
a thing like
but they never forget
Pastors, we are all tax collectors
Why did Jesus teach about money? Because He was making disciples. He knew that how we spend money, time and our talents indicates where are hearts are settling, what we worship. In Matthew 6 Jesus says, “24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.” This is the first essential Jesus wants your congregation to hear, how we use and think about our money and monies indicates our heart’s worship. And without Jesus we are all tax collectors.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector in Luke 19 is a case study that illustrates both the positive and negative uses of money-how £££ used Zacchaeus before he encountered Jesus and how he used £££ after they met. Nine short verses in Luke 19 tells both sides of the story,
Zacchaeus before Jesus
Zacchaeus was rich, but for all his riches he was looked down upon by the people. His riches came from cheating; defrauding (8). He was a thief. He thought he was holding on to his funds but they actually were holding on to him isolating from others. His job choice made him small. Proverbs 11:24 states, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger. The world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Zacchaeus worshipped money and this worship is what really makes him smaller, and not just in stature. Then Jesus enters; “they all grumbled.”(7) But change is coming.
Zacchaeus after Jesus
From a lonely man whose house no one wanted to enter into or eat with, Zacchaeus is welcomed into relationship. Jesus is willing to enter his home, “…I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus is so moved that he worships. How? Verse 8 gives us the answer; Zacchaeus standing in the public, gives away what he formerly held dear. He gives half his wealth to the poor. This leads us to the second essential Jesus wants your congregation to hear. Ephesians 4: 20-4, 28:
“But you have learned nothing like that from Christ, if you have really heard his voice and understood the truth that he has taught you. No, what you learned was to fling off the dirty clothes of the old way of living, which were rotted through and through with lust’s illusions, and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made, to put on the clean fresh clothes of the new life which was made by God’s design for righteousness and the holiness which is no illusion.
If you used to be a thief you must not only give up stealing, but you must learn to make an honest living, so that you may be able to give to those in need.”
Like Zacchaeus, we are all tax collectors. That’s why “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke: 19:10) Our monies are either using us, or we are using it. And if we are using our monies as a disciple of Jesus we have to be like a changed and transformed Zacchaeus, giving to those in need.
Only someone who has been in great need can understand the needs of another; only someone who has been small and unloved can understand the love of a large and holy God. We are all tax collectors till we worship Him.
Jesus is light. All lights point to him. I sit awaiting light.
Today, as dawn begins in MYC, New York City, I look for light. Houses here are lit up for the season; in general, houses, their outsides, are not lit, decorated in London, our town. Villages are, streets are, stores are. But not houses.
In both cities people design lights. They need light; they look for it. Aragon , in ‘The Two Towers’ looked toward, for light after the night’s battle; after being let down my people, I look for healing, for light. Yesterday, I searched for light in the light of Vermeer’s ‘Girl with Pearl Earring’ exhibit at the Frick; I walked Van Cortland in the Bronx searching houses and sky; I asked for light. Families may give some light this season, this time of year, but as a blazing torch or comet, their lights soon leave. All human designed lights, all these lights will leave.
But he? He was always there; He is.
It is ‘his star’ I need to follow.
Micah 7:8b states that ‘Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light’
Jesus, your light, the world’s light, my light-stays
My Light stays, with me
Envelope me; then, then
I will rise in His light.