Pastor Carolyn Poteet

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March 31, 2019


Pastor Carolyn Poteet


"Beggars, Babies, and Blessings"


Joel 2:23-28
Luke 18:1-17

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March 29, 2019

"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for to such belongs the kingdom of God." 
Luke 18:16

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I woke up to snow this morning, even while the daffodils are optimistically pushing their way through the soil. Spring keeps peeking in and then hiding again. But we know it is coming one of these days, if we just hold on and wait. It is hard to believe we only have four more Sundays left of our 32-week Luke study. I hope you have all enjoyed digging into the stories and teachings of Jesus - and many many thanks to Pastor Linda for her excellent curriculum to help us dig in! Throughout the gospel, we have seen Luke highlight Jesus' interaction with the people usually forgotten in society. Most biographies of heroes focus on people of power and prestige. Luke fills his gospel instead with the upside-down kingdom of women, Samaritans, foreigners, outcasts, the unclean, and even prodigals.

This Sunday we are reading Luke 18, and we continue with this theme and three very unlikely groups of people. The first parable is about the widow and the judge. The second is a story about a Pharisee and a tax collector. And the third vignette is about the disciples getting frustrated when people keep bringing babies to be blessed by Jesus. In a typical hero story, the judge, the Pharisee, and the disciples would get top billing. Instead, they are used as foils for their weaker counterparts. The widow's persistent prayer wears down the unjust judge. The arrogant Pharisee is condemned while the repentant tax collector is praised. And all are reminded that we can only come into the Kingdom of God as a child.

What does it look like to come to the Kingdom as a child? When I think about the widow and the judge, I instantly think of how many questions a child asks every single day. "Why? Why? Why?" A group in Australia actually conducted a survey and found that children on average ask their parents 288 questions a day! And those of you with four-year-old daughters, you win the prize. These little girls averaged 390 questions a day! The widow's childlike persistence could wear down the toughest judge. How much more readily does our God long to answer the questions and prayers from His dearly beloved children?

Think also about how often a child asks for help, knowing they can't do it all on their own. The Pharisee comes to the temple and prays a prayer of self-sufficiency. "See how good I am, Lord, and see how bad that tax collector is!" That is no prayer at all. The tax collector simply begs for help: "Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am a sinner." When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, she knows she needs her dad's help because she cannot do it on her own. How often do we try to prove that we've got it all together rather than coming to our Heavenly Father with skinned knees and admitting that we need help?

I mentioned a few weeks ago the door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Only children can walk through that door without bending over. Jesus Himself came as a child, humbling Himself from the highest height to take on the frail flesh of an infant, a toddler, a teenager, an apprentice, a carpenter, a teacher, and a convict, before He became our Risen Savior.

Where is God calling you to be more childlike with your faith walk? Do you need to ask more questions? Do you need to grow in persistence in prayer, or in faith in believing God will hear your prayers? Do you need to let go of some of your self-sufficiency and ask the Lord for help? Sometimes you may need to embrace play and wonder more. What were some of your favorite things to do as a child? My little brother used to stop and pet dandelions. Take a moment this weekend and try to recall some of those favorite things. Take a walk, pet a dandelion, laugh at a puppy, take a child by the hand, and give thanks for the incredible blessings God has given us.

May the Lord bring out the childlike spirit in each of you today!

Pastor Carolyn
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