Today​’s Scrip-Bit 13 March 2019 Matthew 19:21.

Matthew 19:21.   ​Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
 
What did the man say? ‘Fight one more round…just one more round…before giving up!’ Ah friends, that’s exactly what the ole fella’s doing; fighting one more round, as in going into the big city of T.O. for another medical appointment, and that’s also why he’s up so early writing the Bit! Aren’t you proud of him? I know you are! (smile) 

Yeh, it’s a pain in the rear end to be always going into the city for these medical appointments, but the long and short of the story is that they are for my benefit, not the doctors. So if I don’t go, who’s going to suffer eh? They might not even make less money since there are oodles of people lining up to see them. 

And today, in this season of Lent, where we all aspire to get more spiritual, (smile) we’ll look at an interesting situation in Jesus’ time that still holds good even today, and possibly more so than ever. It all begins with this quote from Uncle John (John Hagee), which says: ‘Your spiritual strength is measured not by what you can believe, but in what you can obey.’ Living truth that my people! Believing is easy, but obeying cuts right to the quick of our sinful hearts and desires! 

And we have a great example of that in the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And behold, one came and said unto him (Jesus), Good Master (Teacher), what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 

And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt (want to) enter into life, keep the commandments. He (the man) saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: And thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.’ (Matt.19:16-19) 

Now that’s standard fare for us all, the basic dictates of the Ten Commandments that the Lord gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, for the Israelites and all those who believed in Him to follow. And the Good Book continues: ‘The young man saith unto him (Jesus), All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.’ (Matt.19:20-22) 

Ah friends, yuh see what we talking about? Spiritual strength is so much more than just believing! That young rich ruler believed, but he just couldn’t obey. Selling his many possessions and then giving away the resultant funds to the poor was just too much for him to handle. And so it is for many of us in today’s very materialistic society. We believers who are supposed to be in the world but not of the world, are too often caught up in those same very materialistic situations like that young man of old. 

And the scholars offer this insightful explanation. ‘19:18-22. This list of commands in verse 18 centres on outward duties, rather than inward nature, which was the young man’s real problem. He protests that he had kept these outward demands. His luxurious wealth and self-righteousness had blinded him to his real weakness. To expose this, Jesus orders, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor…and come…follow me (v.21). 

This he would not do and went away sorrowful. Jesus thus shows him that he had not kept the commandments at all. He LOVED himself more than he LOVED his neighbour (the poor), and he LOVED his possessions more than he LOVED God (“me”). This passage teaches the seriousness of true discipleship, but it in no way teaches the average man that he must sell his possessions in order to be a Christian.’  

No friends, the average Joe does not have to give away all his stuff, but I’m sure that we’d all agree that there is certainly too much poverty in our society, when overall there is immense prosperity. This therefore means that too few have too much, and too many have too little. Consequently there needs to be a touch of equalization, where some of us who have a lot, give to those who don’t have much. 

And that was the original purpose of the church; to help those in need, as we see from Acts 2:44-45. ‘And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted (distributed) them to all men, as every man had need.’ 

Yes friends, I know the church was much smaller then and they could do that kind of communal living, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the church today, meaning all of us believers, is definitely not as sympathetic and giving to the needy as Jesus would like us to be, because we are too attached to our earthly possessions. 

 Remember we are the hands and feet, the body of Jesus down here on earth, and whatever we do will reflect on Him. So for Jesus’ sake, my fellow believers, please, I implore us, let’s try and do better nuh. In this way, the world will have a much more accepting disposition to our Lord and Saviour and thus less souls will be lost to the enemy. 

Now let’s go home wailing our Wednesday Wail, telling all and sundry our sure-fire position in Christ. As one strong voice now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! 

I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Now that’s a future that none of us should  want to miss! Much LOVE!

…getting is very dependent on giving…you’ll get…as you give…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 July 2018 Luke 9:62.

Luke 9:62.   And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

And so we come to Saturday; a day when so many of us breathe a huge sigh of relief, like a great burden has been lifted off our shoulders. And a great burden has indeed been lifted off of many shoulders, and I’m not simply talking about having to go to work, but the effort it takes to get to and from work. 

We’re talking about the endless traffic jams, morning and evening, the hustling along the crowded sidewalks, the rushing and pushing to catch Public Transportation, and then being packed like sardines in the subways and buses. Hn! No wonder so much fatigue, tiredness and lack of incentive exists in our society, and people are prone to do just as much as they can get by with. 

And then, come Saturday, they just lie around like beached whales, too tired to do much of anything but eat and sleep. I don’t know the solution to the problem nuh, but I do know that we waste a lot, too much time and energy just getting to and from work. 

One would think that mankind, as this great thinking machine, as this great font of wisdom, would be able to devise a better, more productive system. Unfortunately though, I don’t see it happening any time soon, so we’d better look about strengthening our backbones and our minds so that we can bear it. Sermon done! (smile) 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to the quotes of our friend Anselm, who sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. I don’t know what happened, but I only got one quote from him this week, but it’s a good one. ‘We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.’ 

What words of absolute wisdom my brethren! Looking back is not something we ought to do too often because it keeps us from moving forward. As Anselm says, we should only look back to learn from our mistakes and use them to make our future more productive. 

Unfortunately though, many of us live in the past. We keep rehashing the things that have happened and keep bringing all that baggage to our current situations. Therefore we can never get ahead with all that negative stuff weighing us down. Please remember my brethren that the past is dead and gone, it’s history, and we can never get it back no matter how we romanticize it, talking about the good old days. 

Now here is the definitive word on the subject, from none other than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  ‘And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ 

That’s one of the tests of discipleship, and what Jesus told the man who wanted to follow Him, but first desired to go and tell his family farewell. Ah mih people, it sounds like a rough, unfeeling statement, but workers for Jesus must be forward looking, forward thinking people, not dwellers in the past. 

Hear the scholars’ explanation. ‘9:62. Fit, occurring elsewhere only in 14:35 and Hebrews 6:7, means “suitable” or “usable.” One who makes life’s lesser matters of greater priority than God’s work is of little use to Him.’ 

Remember how Jesus recruited Peter and Andrew and James and John, the sons of Zebedee? He just passed by the seashore and saw Peter and Andrew casting their nets: ‘And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed him. 

And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.’ (Matt.4:19-22) What obedience my people! Can you imagine Zebedee’s consternation; his sons’ just walking away with a total stranger? 

And the scholars tell us: ‘The statement in verse 22 that they immediately responded to His call gives us a perfect picture of true obedience to the lordship of Christ.’ 

And we also have the perfect example of how looking back can affect us negatively in the story of Lot when the Lord warned him to flee from the area of Sodom and Gomorrah where he lived. The angels took him and his family out to the city limits. ‘And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad (outside), that he (they) said, Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain, escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.’ (Gen.19:17) 

But Lot begged them to let him escape to a small city nearby, called Zoar, and they agreed. (Gen.19:18-23) Then the Lord rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. ’But his (Lot’s) wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.’(Gen.19:26) 

And the scholars explain: ‘She became a pillar of salt: Jesus used this incident as a warning to others not to look back (Luke 17:21-33). Lot’s wife apparently lingered behind, continually and longingly looking back on her beloved possessions, and was buried by the explosion that resulted from the destruction of the city. Brimstone and fire may refer to a meteorite shower that literally burned up the whole area.’ 

Nuff said my people. Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…else he will surely feel…