Gospel Reading and Thoughts for August 25, 2013

Gospel – Luke 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,jesus-teaching
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”


What can we take away from this foreboding gospel reading?

First of all, I feel like Jesus is trying to encourage, yet admonish us.  We must strive to get to Heaven but doing so won’t be easy!  We will have to carry our own crosses daily with little complaint.  We must die to self so that we can live out his word.  In much the same way, we encourage and admonish our own children all the time.  We want them to be independent and hardworking but we warn them of what would happen if they were too independent and lazy.

And then secondly, Jesus is trying to remind us where our priorities should lie.  They should not be in worldly things but in God alone, keeping in mind that putting ourselves ahead of others will not lead us to happiness.

So how do we make this applicable to our children?  We can teach them JOY and don’t mean the happiness form of joy, but rather the order in which our lives should be organized.

J – Jesus first, and always first

O – Others ahead of ourselves – our family, our friends, our community

Y – Yourself – finally, you can place your own needs at Jesus feet

And these together will allow us to truly live a life of JOY.  As a reminder of this, I have written the words “I am third” on a notecard and stuck it to the mirror in my children’s bathroom.  I pray that they will strive to order their lives in the way Jesus wished where “the first would be last and the last would be first.”

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