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John 15:12-17

 

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another."(ESV)

 

Nothing to Sweat

Pentecost Thursday

28 May 2014

About managing anxiety, some wag has said, "Don't sweat the small stuff...And everything is small stuff." Easier said than done. We Christians have an advantage when it comes to managing anxiety, because all the big stuff is covered by someone else. God, our heavenly Father, has seen to what is most important. He has offered His own precious Son, delivering Him up to death for us all. Death, sin, and hell have all been taken care of, and all the rest is little stuff. We needn't fret about the big stuff, but also the little stuff. If our heavenly Father has taken care of the big stuff for us, why would we not also conclude that He is capable of taking care of the little stuff. If a major league pitcher can strike out the finely tuned athletes who stand in the batter's box against him, couldn't he also very easily strike out Little Leaguers if he took the mound against them? Of course, they would be terribly overmatched. If he could take care of the big hitters he would mow down the little hitters too. So it is with God. Since He has taken care of the big things in the death of His own precious Son, He is also able to care of all our tiniest needs. There is nothing to sweat.

 

How easily we reclaim our anxiety about everything. This is especially true of Lutherans, who despite the teaching of divine monergism, think they need to have everything in their own control. Yes, we might admit notionally that God can do everything and promises to do so, but practically speaking, we are quite certain He needs our help. He couldn't possibly manage without us. But He can, you know. He actually will send you Job-like trials to prove His ability to take care of things and to force you to trust Him. God often knocks the props out from under us to prove to us that we can't take care of things and that we have no choice but to let God be who He is: the One who graciously gives us all things (Rm 8:32).

 

God does not give this abundance of grace only to those who love and treasure Him, but He has offered His Son up for the whole world, even for those who hate Him and blaspheme His name. He makes them His treasure, offering everything for them (Mt 13:44), and rejoices at the price offered and the treasure gained. Only His self-less giving assigns it value. If this is what God has done for His enemies, what will He do for those whom He calls friends? He can take care of everything. There is nothing to sweat.

 

John Chrysostom

 

"'He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things' (Rm 8:32)? Here the words Paul uses are highly wrought and exceedingly warm, to show His love. How then could He neglect us, on whose behalf He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all? Reflect what great goodness it is not to spare even His own Son, but to give Him up, and to give Him up for those, who are worthless, unfeeling, enemies, and blasphemers. 'How will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?' What Paul means is 'If He gave His own Son, and not merely gave Him, but gave Him to death, why doubt any more about the rest, since you have the Master? Why be doubtful about your possessions, when you have the Lord? For He who gave the greater thing to His enemies, how could He do anything other than give the lesser things to His friends?'"  

 

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 15
 
Prayer

Almighty Father, since Christ has been delivered up for us all, we are certain that You care for us. Help us to live in peace knowing that you have taken care of our most urgent need for forgiveness and fellowship with You. Comfort us through our experience of Your daily and patient care for every aspect of our lives. Amen.

 

For Pastor John Fale, the Executive Director of International Mission of the LCMS, that the Lord would grant him grace and every blessing

 

For Paul Lodholz, that he would be given strength for every day by His Lord Jesus

 

For all educators as they wind down the school year, that they would teach the truth, no matter where it is found

Art: DYCK, Anthony van  Pentecost (1618-1620) 

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