"He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."" (Matthew 22:37)
What is it you love to do? Your very most favorite thing? The one thing you do as often as possible, tell people about and share with others? I have a couple of friends who love gardening. I thought gardening would be "over" now but I soon found out differently. They have finished, for the year, outdoors but they still have plants inside, supplies to clean up and put away and - when they can - the catalogs for next year's garden.
The Pharisees think, since Jesus "silenced the Sadducees" (v. 34), they will try to stump Jesus themselves. Which commandment "is the greatest?" (v. 36) Jesus proceeds to sum up the first four commandments "Love God with all your mind, soul, heart". (v. 37) And in the Gospel of Mark "strength" is added. (Mark 12:30) Then Jesus sums up the other six commandments - "and your neighbor as yourself." (v. 39) A call, then and now, to be putting God first -- living the faith we profess. Sometimes we are the only Bible people will ever see let alone read.
We, as Caregivers, are already loving, and taking care of, our receivers but are we loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength? Can we use our very favorite thing - sewing, gardening, knitting, fishing - to be spending time with God? Can we share God's love with the results of said favorite thing and time with God? How is God asking you to spend time with God? How is God asking you to share?
"Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and give to God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21b)
Trick questions, logic and focus - how do they go together? We know trick questions - "have you stopped _______?" - fill in the blank. There may be no way to answer it - if you say "yes," does it mean you actually were before? If you say "no" does it mean you still are? Then there is the logic behind the question -- especially in the "giving to the emperor (government)". Taxes were a "given" then and are now -- it doesn't change.
What about the "focus" -- as in Fixing our eyes On Christ Uniting for Strength -- on the goal? Have you thought about a goal that much? When have you worked on keeping the goal "in focus"? Jesus is reminding all of us that God IS the goal -- "give to God the things that are God's." With all the distractions, going on around us, it is easy to get our eyes "off" the goal - to loose our "focus," especially as Caregivers. We can become so busy we forget to "Fix our eyes On Christ."
We give, or pay, our taxes but how are we at "giving" to God? Are we following where God is leading about taking care of ourselves? Are we taking the time to BE with God, to strengthen our relationship with God - to "give to God the things (time being one of the gifts?) that are God's?
"But they paid no attention and went off -- one to his field, another to his business." Matthew 22:5
How are you with excuses? Do you have some "regular" stand bys? What about original ones? There are also the obvious ones -- work, food, sleep, family -- right? Those of us who are caregivers can even add needing to be with, or do something for, our care receivers. And, sometimes, we can even add the need to take care of ourselves into the list!
This reading is while Jesus is still speaking to the Pharisees. He is explaining about what heaven will be like. The celebration! The Joy!! Being with the King! Time with God!! But instead these people have gone "to work." They have "gone off," paying "no attention." Even, in a few verses, one of the guests isn't prepared and "is speechless." (v. 12) Each of these people have "paid no attention" to the invitation(s) which gives an "excuse" even if they were "speechless." Work, in the field and business, and the shock (surprise?) of a personal question have given the excuse. Of course we would say they each had a "good reason" - right?
God is still speaking to each, and all, of us -- calling and inviting. What is our response? Excuses? Speechless? Or are we celebrating with time with the King!?
"Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures;" (Matthew 21:42a)
When all else fails "read the directions." How often do we hear that? How often do we say it!? I tell people I follow directions except on my needlework - I reserve the right to do 'my own thing' with needlework. There have been times, however, when I needed to go back and "read the directions" -- like when it took three times to make a sweater to fit my Dad. Two times wrong, then the person at the yarn shop said "read the directions" and the third time the sweater fit.
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, in this Gospel reading, but also to us. Jesus is pointing out how the tenants of the "vineyard" have treated the "son of the owner." The Pharisees, and us(?), recognize they are who Jesus is talking about. The suggestion to "read the Scripture" is in reference to Jesus' coming, the prophets and what happens. It is also a call to "read AND follow the directions."
What about us and our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit? Are we strengthening our relationship by "reading the Scriptures"? Is it time to FOCUS -- Fixing Our eyes on Christ Uniting for Strength?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.