The Resurrection: A Return on Investment

CHRISTINE GORDON|GUEST If you happen to be an investor, 2020 was a scary year. March sent millions into a panic as the stock market took a huge dive in reaction to the first wave of COVID-19 on US soil. Unlike risky monetary investments, Jesus directs us in the gospel of Luke to an investment that has no risk and a guaranteed payoff at the resurrection.  We’re not told the particularities of what our reward might be. But imagine how the maker of the sunset, sea animals, and sesame seeds might reward you. I would guess it will be more satisfying and delightful than any list we might make or parameters we could define. God wants to offer us rewards for making certain choices and putting our energy toward specific people while living here on earth. What actions bring such pleasure to the heart of Jesus that he would promise a reward for doing them? Honor Those Who Cannot Repay Jesus’s words to a Pharisee who invited him for a meal are helpful to us: Then Jesus said to the man who had invited Him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they may invite you in return, and you will be repaid. But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed. Since they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12b-14) Jesus told the man who invited him what really makes God happy: giving honor to those who can’t possibly repay it. Give it away, in big spoonfuls— in buckets, even. Give to those who have absolutely no way of returning in kind. Because that’s what God has done for you. Dignify them not only with a meal, but with your presence. Table fellowship was all about status in Jesus’s day. Sharing a meal signified acceptance, and even equal social capital. Jesus is directing this likely rich and powerful Pharisee to open his home to those who would never usually make it onto the guest list, because they weren’t in his same social circle. He is not shaming them for inviting friends; he is simply encouraging them to also invite the outcasts, the poor, and anyone who has no status.  But why?  Because those are the kinds of people God loves to love lavishly— the needy. He knows they cannot pay...

The Resurrection: A Return on Investment2022-05-04T23:14:12+00:00

How the Resurrection Comforts us in Our Waiting

When I signed on to write this post, I had no idea the world would be in the midst of one of the hardest waits we’ve ever faced, the global pandemic of 2020. As I write, Americans are being urged to stay home from school, work, church, even from the doctor’s office. We stay home, and we wait. We wait to see if the curve will be flattened; we wait to see if the virus will strike us or our loved ones; we wait to see what will happen to the economy when it’s all over. It feels as if the whole world is trembling as it waits. And yet, even as we wait in this nerve-shattering season, because of the resurrection, we wait with hope. Unlike the first followers of Jesus on the day after his death, we know there is a better day coming. The First ‘Already/Not Yet’ Day You may have heard the phrase “the already and the not yet” in a sermon or read it in a book. The “already” refers to the fact that Jesus has “already” died for our sins and been raised to new life, that his followers have “already” known the cleansing of our sins and our adoption as God’s children. The “not yet” refers to the fact that Jesus has “not yet” returned to fully restore all of creation; indeed, we groan with all of creation for the redemption of all things (Romans 8:22-23). In this season of the “already/not yet,” we eagerly await the day when Jesus will return to fully and finally restore all broken things...

How the Resurrection Comforts us in Our Waiting2022-05-05T00:52:45+00:00
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