Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9|Philippians 1:20-24,27|Matthew 20:1-16
A friend of mine once suggested to me that envy is one of those sins which members of religious communities very rarely seem to confess. And yet it is usually those with whom we live and work in close proximity - our friends and colleagues - whose achievements can so easily arouse in us feelings of anger and resentment. We seldom feel aggrieved at the success of a great artist or expert musician. They are too distant from us. It is rather those we consider our equals - those with whom we in some sense see ourselves in competition - whose good fortune and success we are most likely to begrudge.
1 Timothy 6:13-16; Luke 8:4-15
Luke 8:4-15 The Parable of the Seed
It is pretty heavy stuff to be told that knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God has been granted to us. As I reflect on the parable of the seed, I realize that I am often the seed that falls among the thorns. I am thankful that I haven’t been robbed of the good news by the Devil and I am not tempted to abandon my roots. I hang in there with my faith, but I don’t think I bear much mature fruit. There are times when I bear the fruit of a good and generous heart, but in so many ways, I also get choked by thorns and weeds. It is a constant struggle for me to persevere. I get consumed by the anxieties of this life or the many pleasures that distract me from my anxieties. Maybe the parable speaks loudly to me today because the constant rain here in Omaha this summer has kept me pulling, cutting, clipping, and whacking away at weeds in my yard. My battles with weeds and thorns serve as a reminder of my spiritual battles. As I persevere in the war against weeds, I ask myself the question, “what does it mean to persevere in the production of mature fruit of the spirit?” In Galatians 5:22-23 we learn that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Here is a check list I made for myself to keep me focused.