Week 8 Sunday

My Fair Share

Today’s scripture selection: Matthew 20-22

Key verses: Matthew 22:37-39

 

     One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time is watch the T.V. special A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.  As I get my annual dose of Linus telling the PEANUTS gang, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown” I happily reflect on the true meaning of the season.  And as the gang struggles with the temptation to give in to greed and materialism, I identify with Charlie Brown’s little sister – who has already succumb.  Having horrified her brother by asking Santa for cash (should other items be out of stock) – she utters that famous line:

“All I want is what I have coming to me; all I want is my fair share.”

     Good Grief.

     But it’s not just at Christmas that we struggle with this particular temptation.  It’s at our throat in season and out of season; day in and day out.  We work hard, play by the rules, try to get ahead as best we can, and merely ask for our “fair share.”

     And so, Christ comes reminding us – not with mere words, but through His sacrificial example – that life is much more than this.  On the one side are his testers and detractors who want to trip him up with trick questions.  On the other are his own hapless disciples who want him to settle an argument – which of them will sit at his side when he rules the kingdom to come.  Shaking his head, he just tells them that there are two things on which they should focus, and the rest will take care of itself:

 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

So simple – and yet so hard to do.

     The Christmas season will be here before you know it.  Do yourself a favor.  Don’t spend it, or any other time of the year, grappling for your fair share.  Just love God and love others with everything you’ve got.

     And everything really will work out just right.

 

Prayer:  Lord, you have given me so much, so lovingly.  Give me a giving heart as well.  AMEN.

 

 

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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