MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #7 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood.
Third point. When Jesus gets out of the boat, there he is, in his neighborhood.
The last thing I want on a Sunday morning as I’m heading across the street to church is to walk out the front door of my house and find 5,000 hungry people asking me about breakfast. I don’t think I could deal with that! One or two maybe. There’s usually a basket of broken pieces of bread around our house we can give to somebody.
But when you come out of your chair and come out of your front door, you are in your neighborhood and anyone who’s in front of you is your neighbor. As you go through the day, as you go through the week, whoever’s in front of you is your neighbor. And it’s not up to you, but as you pray for your neighbor, if you listen to God in your chair time, God will flow through you to meet the needs of the people in your neighborhood.
This poor woman is about to be nibbled to death by ducks or chickens or whatever. If they’re used to receiving bread from the hands of people, they will come after you, “Where is my bread?”
The only thing worse are seagulls. Have you ever had fun with seagulls? You throw a Frito up in the air and they fly in from 20 feet away and catch it right out of the air. I’m glad that ducks don’t take lessons from seagulls. But if you will look around, as you go about your day, you can be asking: who is following me? That’s your neighbor following you.
You can pray for them, you can ask God to bless them, and if God blesses them, you can ask them to thank God for the blessing. Don’t you take credit for what God has done. And if you’re following Jesus and they keep following you, they’re following Jesus too.
But the point for us is this, when you come out of your place of prayer, when you come into the neighborhood, you will find that people are looking to you. Pray for them and listen to your Lord and do not listen to the voice inside of you that says that there are limitations. That voice that says, “There are only five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s not enough.”
But whatever you’re asked to do, whether it’s to put the net out on the right side of the boat, or make a plate of cookies, or whatever it might be, do that in the name of Jesus and watch miracles happen in the lives of people all around you. Let’s pray.
Lord, Jesus, as we go about our daily business, sometimes it feels like we’re surrounded by people asking us for more than we have. But, Lord, the real truth is that they cannot ask for more than you have. Help us, Lord, to turn every need we see into a prayer. Help us to turn every request that we receive into a prayer. Help us, Lord, to listen to you so that as we do what it seems like we’re supposed to do – sometimes it’s only to pray, sometimes it’s more – help us, Lord, to hear you clearly and to act upon what we’re told. So as we go out of our place of prayer into the neighborhood, your love, and grace, and power, and help would go with us into the lives of everybody who we find are our neighbors. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
As you move through your neighborhoods today, notice your neighbor. Who is approaching you? Who is waiting for you? Who wants to speak with you?
What could God be telling you through this encounter?
What do they want? What do they need?
How could you pray? How could you help?
The photo “Waimea Falls Park_30” is by Luciana Soldi Bullara and is from https://www.flickr.com/photos/lusoldi/3350320623/
courtesy of the Flickr.com Creative Commons license.
This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.