A Prayer Prompted by Luke 19

Dear Father in Heaven,

Your Son Jesus Christ deserves all the devotion, all the praise and all the commitment that we can possibly give. He is worthy of even more.

He has said that you have given him all authority in heaven and on earth. We need to willingly give him all authority over every part of our lives.

We willingly offer you our talents, relationship, treasure, the truth as much as we know it, and our time. All that we have is from you, so we offer it back to you as yours for us to use in your service.

As stewards we want to be faithful.

And we wait for your Son to return from heaven and begin his earthly rule as King.

So we pray in his name,

Amen

 

Our treasure will lead our hearts – Luke 12:32-34

32 Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Jesus begins by reassuring us that it is the Father’s “good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  It is not something we have to compete for, haggle over or bid on like participants in an auction.  He wants to give the kingdom to us as members of his royal family.  But do we want what the Father wants to give?

Maybe.  Or yes, probably so, deep down, when we are quietly thinking about the subject.  But how often do we think so quietly?  In the systematic blur of day-to-day endeavors and obstacles, we may never quietly think about we want deep down and long-term.  By “long-term” I mean in eternity.  Really long-term.  

Jesus knows this about us.  So he immediately teaches us how to get our hearts in the right place.  The next two verses tell us how to get our hearts in proper alignment with God’s, and it all starts with our treasure.

It may involve giving up some of our treasure here on earth, such as selling things and giving to the needy.  There is be more to it, of course, but it is not Jesus’s goal to give us a lengthy how-to lesson.  That might only bog us down in the details and distract us from his ultimate priority.  He wants us to store up treasure in heaven.  In part, that is so we will have treasure in heaven, plain and simple, which is, in itself, is a good thing.  There is, however, something else.

Storing up treasure in heaven taps into an overriding and stable principle, which is where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Jesus wants us to invest in heaven, because the treasure we have there will ultimately lead our hearts into alignment with God’s while we still inhabit the earth. 

We need some skin in the game.  If we don’t invest in our heavenly future, we will remain stupidly focused on the here and now.  Yet both experience and observation indicate that the here and now becomes the there and then all too soon.  Heaven is eternal. There we find moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”  

Heaven is where our Father eternally resides.  Heaven is where Jesus is now and that is where he wants our hearts.  Our hearts invariably follow our treasure; our treasure will lead our hearts.

Kingdom prayer – Matthew 6:9-13

The traditional Jewish Mourner’s Kaddish reveals Christ’s religious roots when we compare it to his model prayer.  Both of them give us a great framework for meditation.

Mourner’s Kaddish

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world
which He has created according to His will.

May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days,
and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon;
and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored,
adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,
beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that
are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights,
may He create peace for us and for all Israel;
and say, Amen.

(English translation from My Jewish Learning.  https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/text-of-the-mourners-kaddish/)

Christ’s Model Prayer (Matt 6:9-13)

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

Amen and amen!

(Thanks to Craig Blomberg for pointing out the connection in his commentary on Matthew 1992, New American Commentary Vol 22, B & H Publishing)

A Shared High Priest: Melchizedek’s Meaning – Genesis 14, Psalm 110 & Hebrews 5 – 7

Unity, Diversity and Our Identity in Christdiversity
Part 13 of 14

Melchizedek may not take up a lot of space in the biblical story, but the priesthood he represents has eternal significance.

A Shared High Priest Gen, Psa, Heb 5-7.pdf                   

A Shared High Priest Gen, Psa, Heb 5-7.mp3

 

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wildrose115/27623264486