“Where is your light?”
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Adams United Methodist Church
Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church
Pastor Missy McCarthy
Music: Sue& Craig Gamet, Mike Tyo, Sharon DelSignore
November 8, 2020 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Do you think I am ready for the beach? What about if I went home and changed into what is in my beach bag here – would I be ready then? What if we had nicer weather? I could have all the right stuff but still not be able to go and have to wait and wait until the weather is just right. That is kind of what Jesus is saying in this parable. He is telling them your discipleship (following to be like Jesus) is like being ready to go to the beach. Only you can have your right size swimsuit with you and be ready – only you can work on being a disciple (praying everyday, reading your Bible stories, coming to church, doing works of service, giving your time and money to help others). It doesn’t mean you can go swimming at the beach, you still have to wait for the weather to be just right (just like they had to wait for the bridegroom), but you never know when you are going to get the perfect day, so be prepared.
So, this week how can you work on being prepared with your discipleship. Is there an area of your discipleship or following Jesus work that you could do a little better with? Prayer, Bible reading, worship, giving your time or money, looking for where God is working in your life and sharing your God sightings? Pick one area this week and try to work on it three times this week. Let’s pray.
Reflection: “Where is your light?”
Every time I get this parable, I feel like I have whiplash. It is so different then everything else Jesus seems to teach. We learn about sharing our loaves and fishes, accepting those who live on the margins and being part of those who bring those on the margins back into community with the women at the well, and the lepers and the man born blind. So, what is up with this story and no one wanting to share oil?
I figured learning about the marriage practices would help, so I dove into it. The practice of going from the bridegroom’s home to the bride’s house at dusk where the bride’s maids meet them with the lamps to bring them to the bride and back to the groom’s house. If they shared their oil the torches wouldn’t have made it all the way to the groom’s house, and it would have ruined the entire wedding processional – and been very shameful to the families. Although interesting, it really wasn’t helping me out.
Then, the Discipleship Ministries website reminded me that in Matthew 5:14-16 we are told “You are the light of the world…let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your light and give glory to your father in heaven.” The author then reminds us, “Remember? The light, the lamp, is not just an object of illumination; it represents a life of service and sacrifice. It represents a life transformed by faith in Jesus, by the grace of God..” This completely changed how I saw this parable. It isn’t about a sharing, or even having enough stuff or checking off the right things – it is about our own journey. Kenneth Bailey says it this way, “The faithful borrow many things from each other. But they cannot borrow their own preparations for the coming of the kingdom. Commitment and the discipleship that follows can be neither loaned nor borrowed. Each believer must participate in the kingdom with his or her own resources.”
This has nothing to do with oil and everything to do with our own discipleship and transformation. We can’t borrow someone else’s discipleship. We can’t just bum their scripture reading off of them or their meditation. What about their prayer. “Hey, you know I haven’t prayed much can you just pray for me – I am good.” Here, Jesus is clearly saying the Kingdom has a lot of grace, but no one can walk the path for you. There are things you need to do for yourself, and your discipleship journey is one of them.
If we are the light of the world and we show God’s light through our words, and actions. How are you being a lamp? How are you being a light to those around you? Are you attending to the oil in your own lamp – your own Discipleship practices? Do you remember them from last year? Commitment to Christ, prayer, Scripture reading, worship, sharing God stories (witness), financial giving (where our money is so is our heart), and our service (where our time is so is our heart). Which area could you concentrate on this week to strengthen and replenish your oil?
Monday – Colossians 4:2-6
Tuesday – Romans 13:11-14
Wednesday – Luke 12:35-38
Thursday – Mark 13:33-37
Friday – Psalm 78:1-7
Saturday – Joshua 24:1-3a
Announcements and Updates
● Men’s Bible study on Acts on Tuesday at 7:00 pm please join us. One hour – We will be reviewing Exodus 13-15, we will be meeting November 17. November 10th is canceled so pastor can atten