“Come follow me!” The supreme and sovereign value in life

A brief sermon/reflection for Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity Year B – 2021

The readings for this Sunday are for those of Trinity 19:

  • Wisdom 7. 7-11
  • Psalm 90
  • Hebrews 4. 12-13
  • Mark 10. 17-30

You might like to use the link below to find the above readings, and click on any of the reading above that you wish to use: http://www.katapi.org.uk/CommonWorship/CWLectionarySelV.php

Collect of the day

Let us first spend a few moments in silence to centre ourselves,
to gather ourselves in our souls,
to come before the Lord just as we are with our joys and sorrows,
our hopes and our fears, our loves and our pains.
Let us just focus our minds and hearts on Jesus who is the answer for every problem.
Let us pray that the Spirit will work through our lives
to bring Christ to the world.

Silence is kept …

O God, forasmuch as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

or

Faithful Lord,
whose steadfast love never ceases
and whose mercies never come to an end:
grant us the grace to trust you
and to receive the gifts of your love,
new every morning,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Post Communion

Holy and blessed God,
you have fed us with the body and blood of your Son
and filled us with your Holy Spirit:
may we honour you,
not only with our lips
but in lives dedicated to the service
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayer before the Sermon

Loving Heavenly Father,
we thank you for the words you have given us today.
We know they are words of life and salvation.
Open our hearts Father, touch our souls,
forgive us our sins especially our lack of faith,
help us to respond to your word.
May we know that you are our Lord and Saviour
who promises us the power from on high,
your Holy Spirit.
May we experience in our hearts your love
and your presence always.

Amen.

A homily based on the readings of today is given below:

“Come follow me!”

The supreme and sovereign value in life

The first reading speaks to us of the power of the Word of God that penetrates the darkness and dichotomies of our hearts and our spirits and reveals to us the truth and wisdom of our human existence and christian living. It is above all the “Word made Flesh and dwelt amongst us” that makes such a difference in our lives!

The gospel story narrates a dramatic, if not tragic, event in the public ministry of Jesus which teach us a lot about the mystery of life and the meaning of christian life. It is the tragic story of a man who fell in love with God but failed to take that extra step to supreme and total abandonment and commitment to God. this story stands in very sharp and parallel contrast to other stories of discipleship, like that of Peter, James, John, Matthew and the other disciples of Christ who left everything and followed Jesus when he called them.

God calls some of us to “something more” than just be owners and administrators of large wealth or properties. God calls some of us to a deeper discipleship and following of him. But quite often we fail to respond to Jesus.

Let us briefly look at the gospel story.  we are told that a man came up to Jesus, knelt before him and asked him that most significant of questions. We find it Mark chapter 10, verse 17: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” It is, indeed, really the biggest question of life. He is a good man as we read in verses 19 to 20 that he keeps all the commandments of God. Jesus loved this young man who truly was a good man. He found great potential in him. Jesus, therefore, challenged him to a deeper relationship of commitment and mission. He told him, we see this verse 21, “Come, follow me.” Jesus challenged him to look beyond his wealth and his power and to reach out to him for a fascinating walk of faith and action. Tragically, the young man found it difficult to leave all and follow Jesus; he went away from Jesus and we never hear about him again.

In this story, Jesus underlines the problem wealth can become when one wants to follow a more spiritual path. (verse 23) But he also says that “for God all things are possible!” (verse 27 and he also outlines the rewards of those who follow Jesus in verse 29.

The young man asked the right questions; he did the right things. But God was not central in his thoughts, his life and action, it would appear. It is a sad story of a man who came face to face with God and yet did not recognise him – his heart was where his treasure was! In fact, in another place, Jesus clearly tells us, “You cannot serve God and mammon!” Similar stories are rare in the bible but we do have other contrasting stories like that of young king Solomon who, when he was asked, did not ask for more wealth or power or glory but for wisdom to discern right from wrong and to follow God with an upright heart! The saints like Francis and several others left all their wealth and followed Christ and we remember them even today.

I believe the problem, the most tragic of all, is not economic breakdown, social meltdown, moral impasse, environmental disaster or political confusion. The real problem today is a moving away from the supreme and sovereign value of all – God. This is our real problem. All our social, economic, moral, religious, environmental and political problems will be easier to resolve if, and this is vital, we retrace our steps to God and make him the supreme value in our lives.

God does not oppose wealth. But, He must be given sovereign, supreme value in life. It is He who needs our worship and adoration, not our perishable goods, our wealth. I remember an experience at a conference of insurance agents and prospective candidates for the job in 4 star hotel many years ago. There were all these people in 3 piece suits and all elegantly attired, men and women and at a certain moment all were asked to kneel down for a moment…we felt an eery feeling, a deep disturbance in our spirits. It looked like all these people were asked to kneel to the god of mammon, wealth rather than to Creator God!

What is your supreme, sovereign value that guides your life? Is it wealth, health, pleasure, success, privilege, prestige, power or ….. is it God? Your decision and your answer is vital for the success of your life, especially eternal life. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul?” (Mark 8.36) For “God so loved the world that He gave His Own Son so that anyone who believes him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3.16)

Pause to pray …

Lord Jesus,
I believe you are the Son of God.
Thank you for becoming one of us.
Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.
Thank you for rising from the dead
to give me hope and the gift of eternal life.

I repent of my sins
and invite you into heart and life
as my Lord and Saviour.
Please grant me your Holy Spirit
so that I may know you, love you
and follow you every day of my life.

Amen.

[Revd Dr ST Mattapally, Rector, Springline Parish, Diocese of Lincoln]