|We might call September the educational month. Our children are back into the swing of school, the Sunday Church School has returned to the faith teaching and learning and the lessons for the four weeks of September present some difficult teachings for all.
The writer of Luke has Jesus continuing his journey toward Jerusalem. While he journeys, he is in a teaching mode. In the four lessons in September, Jesus teaches the crowd, the Pharisees and the disciples about the demands of discipleship and the dangers of wealth.
On September 4, Jesus makes it very clear that to follow him, to be his disciple is costly. Indeed, to commit oneself to Jesus could well cost one family or friends. The lesson ends with the hard words, “So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”
September 11 gives us the very familiar stories of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, and how each of them rejoices and throws a party because the lost was found. The rejoicing and the partying are but a faint example of the rejoicing and the partying in heaven when one lost human being comes to Christ.
On September 18, we hear the story of the dishonest steward who tried to save his neck by reducing the debt others owed his master. The conclusion of that story is a word of teaching to us. You have heard it many times: “No slave can serve two masters; for the slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” The last sentence is the sentences of commitment and lift up the cost of discipleship for the committed Christian. “You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Finally, on September 25, we are confronted with the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The story reminds us that it is important how we conduct ourselves in this life and, that we do more than just give the crumbs from our table to those who are in need.
My point in all of this is really quite simple. We need to be attentive to the teaching of Jesus no less than did the crowd, the Pharisees and the disciples. Our faith must grow with each event and circumstance of our life. If our faith does not grow, it becomes stagnant and begins to look and smell like the pond that has no water coming into it or going out of it.
I call September the “educational month.” Listen carefully to what Jesus was teaching as he walked toward Jerusalem and his death on the cross. Make it your business to learn something new about faith and discipleship during this educational church month so that your faith does not become stagnant. Let the Holy Spirit breathe new life and commitment to Christ Jesus our Lord.