WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
SERMON JUNE 28th. 2020
St Matthew 10, 40 – 42, our Gospel reading for today, we are told about certain rewards given by God.
This morning I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on the rewards we look for today.
I though therefore, we would start with a smile .
A pastor explained to his congregation that the church was in need of some extra money, so he asked them to consider being more than generous. He offered that whoever gave the most would be able to pick three hymns. After the offering plates were passed about the church, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had graciously offered a £100 Cheque. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate.
A very quiet, elderly, saintly lady in the back of the church shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front, so she slowly she made her way towards him. The pastor told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much, and in thanks he asked her to pick out three hymns.
Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation. She pointed to the three most handsome men in the church and said, "I'll take him and him and him."
So then, what about rewards generally?
It seems to me that we live in a culture that I call, ‘What’s in it for me?’
Whatever we are asked to do we consider what we will get out of it.
Whatever reason we give, there is always that little part that says. ‘What’s in it for me?
A BIG EXAMPLE OF THIS ARE LOTTERIES. We give because we believe we are helping good causes, but would we do it without the chance of the big money prize should we win? After all, instead of paying for a lottery ticket, we could just give the money we spend on it to a charity of our choice.
However, the reward does encourage more people to give and that surely is a positive side to it.
Let’s face it, I suppose most of us don’t think we will ever be the winner. But we still give don’t we. There’s always that chance.
Christians do things to help those in any kind of need.
Why do we do these good deeds?
The answer is because we are following Jesus and His teachings, and the Holy Spirit is helping us to grow in love.
Do we also do these things for what we will get out of it?
Now this is something we all must think about from time to time.
The foundation of our faith is the life teachings and the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. We believe the teaching that if we follow Jesus and believe in Him, through His sacrifice, we too will have eternal life with Him.
St Paul in his first epistle-
19 If in Christ we have hope[b] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.to said that if we made all the sacrifices we do but there was no eternal life for us, then we of all people are the most to be pitied.
Let’s look at the life of Jesus Himself.
He is our example as well as our Lord and central to all He did was love for us and obedience to His Father’s will.
Everything about Jesus is an EXAMPLE OF UNCODITIONAL LOVE
He gave up everything for that love and not for what He would get out of it.
In Cor. 13. Paul’s wrote a hymn about this selfless love.
He said this love is: patient and kind,,
It rejoices in the truth,
Bears all things
Believes all things,
Hope all things
And endures all things.
It never ends.
Love is not envious, arrogant, rude, irritable or boastful
It does not rejoice in wrong doing
Other things will pass away but love abides for ever.
There is no room for selfish seeking of rewards for the good or great things we do.
There is no room for pride and promoting one’s self,
It is the gift of the Holy Spirit alone that will enable us to let this love grow within us and help us to grow daily more like Jesus.
Love is a gift of the Holy Spirit and it is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit. This means that having receive this wonderful gift we should go on to act in loving ways.
We can’t just receive it for ourselves, we have to cultivate it within in, and pass it on.
Is it possible to do anything for anyone and expect nothing for ourselves?
Well, yes, it is.
Examples can be seen in the love of parents who will give everything to care for and to protect their children.
There are many stories told about soldiers sacrificing their own lives in conflict to save their comrades.
There seems to be a natural instinct to want to rescue people in danger an example of which is seen in those who dive into rivers to save non swimmers who have fallen in.
I am sure the rescuer does not stop on the edge of the river and ask him or herself what he or she will get out of it if he or she jumps in to save the person in danger of drowning.
There is therefore the possibility that we could all learn to give of ourselves simply out of love of God and all that Jesus has done for us.
When we do this, the reward of Eternal life is not our motive.
God created us in His image. His image is perfect love seen in the life of His Son Jesus.
Through the Holy Spirit it is possible for us to reflect Jesus life in our own to become the people we were intended to be.
Eternal life become a product or a result of that change, not a reward.
I hope I have given us something to think about today,
and I thought that the prayer of IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA would be a useful way for me to finish .
Let us pray:
Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.