This content is part of a series.
NOTE: This sermon is part 37 and 38 of a 40 part devotional series. Two sermons outlines are included in this download.
Thirty-Seventh Day (37 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
‘‘So once again, I, Yahweh All-Powerful, tell you, ‘See that justice is done and be kind and merciful to one another! Don’t mistreat widows or orphans or foreigners or anyone who is poor, and stop making plans to hurt each other.’ But everyone who heard those prophets stubbornly refused to obey. Instead, they turned their backs on everything my Spirit had commanded the earlier prophets to preach. So I, Yahweh, became angry and said, ‘You people paid no attention when I called out to you, and now I’ll pay no attention when you call out to me.’’’ Zechariah 7:8-13
A common refrain in the Passover Seder meal is ‘‘we were once foreigners in Egypt, but God rescued us with a mighty hand.’’ It is a reminder to include the poor, destitute, and otherwise needy in our celebration of God’s provision and blessing. Caring for widows, poor, foreigners, and orphans was a standard Ancient Near Eastern estimate of one’s righteousness. This concept was not limited to the people of Israel, but understood by most of the Hebrews’ neighbors as a test of one’s character.
Thirty-Eighth Day (38 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
I Corinthians 2:1-5
‘‘Friends, when I came and told you the mystery that God had shared with us, I didn’t use big words or try to sound wise. In fact, while I was with you, I made up my mind to speak only about Jesus Christ, who had been nailed to a cross. At first, I was weak and trembling with fear. When I talked with you or preached, I didn’t try to prove anything by sounding wise. I simply let God’s Spirit show his power. That way you would have faith because of God’s power and not because of human wisdom.’’ 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
It is tempting to reduce the gospel and a life of faith to what we can accomplish with our gifts, talents, and strength. It is easy to style our ministry efforts after the manner of the business community. We look for scientific models, procedures, and tested strategies for growing a church, building an institution, or adding numbers to membership, attendance, and financial giving. While there is some validity in all of this, Paul points to something greater than human strategies and know how.