Reflections: Monday of the 17th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 25:6-14

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 9:1-22; Matthew 11:1-19

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give. (Proverbs 25:14)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Rain is a precious thing in the Middle East. In some parts of that land, they receive as little as eight inches of precipitation each year! Without enough rain, your crops will fail, which means hunger and poverty. If a severe drought hits, then the rivers and lakes might run dry, in which case you might not have much clean water to drink.

In such a climate, there is nothing more disappointing or annoying than a cloud that appears as if it could give you rain, but then doesn’t. Likewise, a person who promises great gifts, but never gives them, brings great disappointment and frustration.

There are lots of churches and teachers who promise great gifts. They promise good news, but never give any. Instead, they give conditions: “Do this and you’ll live!” Since we are all sinners, they might as well say, “You won’t do it. So, you won’t get it!” They don’t say that, however. They are not that honest. So, they promise a gift, which is received by none in the end. 

I expect that you may have family and friends who go to these churches. I bet they feel disappointed and frustrated. They have received the Mass and done penance, but don’t feel any more righteous. They have heard hundreds of “Seven Steps to a Better Life” sermons, but their lives are no better.

Just think, you can be that person who brings them joy and relief! You can be the person who offers great gifts and actually delivers! You can give them that life-giving rain—the Word of God (Isaiah 55:10-11). You can tell them, “Do you want to live forever with God? Do nothing! Everything necessary was done for you by Jesus! Just go to Him and receive! Want to know more? Come with me to my church!” 

And what will they get at your church? Gifts promised and given! Indeed, they will hear your pastor speak the Absolution in the first five minutes of the service. How refreshing! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Lord God, bless the Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make is a word of power and peace to comfort those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen. (For Blessing on the Word, LSB)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.