Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Are Spoiled!

My kids are spoiled.
I tell them this often.
They have way more than they need.
The truth is that I am the one who spoils them.
I buy them things all the time.
Usually if they want something they get it at some point.
Now I didn’t grow up poor by any stretch, but I also remember that if I wanted something I usually only got things on my birthday or Christmas.
Occasionally my parents would buy us something just for the heck of it.
Even with that I was still spoiled too.
And I am still am.
I have all the things in life I need, and if I want something I can usually get it.
It is one of the great struggles of living in America in these times that most of us have what we want and need.
It is a struggle to talk to our kids about what is appropriate and what is over the top.
We are all spoiled not just in terms of material things but spiritually too.
God is lavish with love, hope, joy, forgiveness, and just giving us a wonderful world to enjoy.
The other day I took a drive just to enjoy the fall foliage and I kept thinking how spoiled I am to be able to enjoy this beautiful time of year.
The old saying is true; God is good all the time.

Jesus this morning tells a parable about a woman and an unjust judge.
The woman has a need.
She pleads with the judge and eventually the judge gives in.
Luke tells us that Jesus tells this parable to show what happens when we turn to God in prayer.
Luke shows us if an unjust judge gives in to the pleas of this woman how much more will God, who is just, give us?

Here is the problem we forget how spoiled we are.
We forget how much God gives.
We forget the spiritual overflowing that comes from God.
We forget that when we are in need God is there for us and with us.
All that is needed is a prayer.
Think about how simple that is.
We don’t have to do some fancy ritual.
We don’t have to go out and get a chicken and have it sacrificed by the first full moon of the first Thursday.
No, all we have to do is turn to God and ask.
That is the definition of being spiritually spoiled.
Not only that but it doesn’t matter our position in life.
It doesn’t matter if we have been good or bad.
It doesn’t matter if we think that it will work or not.
We just have to ask.

Luther in his large catechism talking about the Lord’s Prayer writes, “God has promised that our prayer will surely be answered.”
Prayer in and of itself is an act of faith.
It says that we believe there is something/someone who is willing and able to hear us, and take our need seriously.
The God that we know is one who is deeply involved in our lives and wants to know our needs.

Of course there are times when we can’t pray.
That the words won’t come because the pain is so deep we simply don’t have words.
I have been in the position a couple of times in my life.
Once, I was called to the emergency room because a member of the congregation I served had killed themselves.
When I showed up I sat in a room with the mother and father.
We talked for a little while; we sat in silence for some time.
Then I asked if they wanted to pray.
The mother said, “Pastor we just wouldn’t know what to pray for.”
I agreed and we simply sat there for a while longer.

But here is the thing about our God even when the hurt is too much, scripture tells us, the Spirit intercedes for us and helps us pray for what we cannot.
I can also tell you that while we sat there together I was praying a lot, and eventually we did pray together.
Which is the other thing about prayer that really spoils us, if we can’t pray for ourselves others pray on our behalf.
Others pray the words we cannot utter.
When the words won’t come God hears even our sighs as a prayer.
God is rich in giving us what we need spiritually.

I am wondering this morning what are the ways that God has been rich towards you?
What are the ways that you are spoiled by a God rich in mercy, love, faith, hope, forgiveness?

The first week we talked about the ways that God is faithful to us.
Last week we talked about the little things that God uses in our lives to do great things.
This week we are talking about how much we have in our lives.
We are talking about how much God has given us.
How God really spoils us.

My grandmother always will say, “We are rich in the things that money cannot buy.”
She has been saying it to my whole life.
I don’t know if I really ever realized what she was talking about until I realized how much God loves me and cares for me.
I don’t know if I really understood her until I went out into the world and met others who didn’t have a grandmother who would say things like that.
I didn’t understand it until I saw how much my parents sacrificed in their lives to give me things like a college education, and summers up at Camp Calumet.
To be rich in love, mercy, grace, faith, joy, hope, forgiveness these are all things that money cannot buy.
And they are the most important things in life.
Because everything else we have is really fleeting.
Things we have will rust and burn out or go away.
What are we left with if we don’t have our things?
We are left with so much.
Even with nothing we are still rich and spoiled.

I am not saying this so that we leave here this morning feeling guilty.
I am saying this so that we leave here feeling grateful.
So that we remember that we don’t have to suffer through life because our God is rich towards us.
God pours out his grace upon us every day.

Reading the cards that people have been writing has been an overwhelming experience.
When reading them you see just how much God has given, how much God cares, how much God loves.
You can see how rich we are in things that money cannot buy.
One person last week wrote, “We are thankful for all the help we have gotten from the community.”
Concordia Lutheran Church is a place of great spiritual gifts.
But it is not because all of us here this morning are good people; it is because we have a great God.
We have a God who has given so much that we are spoiled enough to have some extra to give away.
There is no such thing as a perfect Church only a perfect God.

We have a God who wants us to pray all the time.
We have a God who wants to hear our needs.
Luther also said in the large Catechism, “we should reflect on our needs, which ought to drive and impel us to pray without ceasing.”
We have needs and we have a God who is there to hear and answer our needs.
We are spoiled.
Thanks be to God for spoiling us.

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