the penultimate WORD
Series 1998 - Proper 19 Canon Jim Irvine
Who will have our heart?


In Luke's Gospel [Jesus said,] "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


Jesus has a way of encouraging the disheartened that has spoken to every generation.

"Do not be afraid," he tells the little flock. "It is your Fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Timidity draws us together and our apprehension paralyses us! As Jesusí words coax us into the open, we are heartened to learn what the Fatherís pleasure is for us. We begin to approach with confidence. We become more self-assured. Our acceptance has displaced fear and our sense of worthlessness ebbs away.

The timelessness of this good news has made the Gospel applicable in every generation.

And our generation is no different. Unfamiliar words of encouragement invariably warm the heart and steady the footstep. We take a step with hesitancy, but then with confidence we pick up the pace and, before you know it, weíre running. Like those sheep at pasture we can see with our mindís eye. Sheep and lambs cavorting and jumping among the clover in undulating pastures. A warm summer breeze caressing their facesÖ our faces. The kingdom is ours! We can imagine ourselves discovering out Fatherís pleasure for us and entering into it fully!

And then Jesus holds up the mirror and asks the penetrating question: what is our pleasure? Where is our heart?

The contrast is stunning.

We were once afraid and needed to know our Fatherís heartís desire. We discover that we are our Fatherís treasure, and we are in our Fatherís heart.

And now, in response, our Father needs to know our heartís desire. Where do we place value in our lives? Satisfied with what our Father provides for us, what do we discover in purses that do not wear out? What do we discover there is for us to give?

And to whom will we give it?

To whom will we offer our forgiveness?

To whom will we offer our forbearance?

To whom will we offer our love?

Who will have our heart?

Copyright © 1998 James T. Irvine

Series 1998