Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634

March 2020

Let's Get Around To It

As you may have heard me say before, I used to have a round wooden coin with the letters "TUIT" engraved on it that one of my members in Mississippi gave me after I told him I was going to do something when I got around to it. But over the years, I've lost it, so here I am nearly 30 years later, still waiting to get around to it.

One of the key attributes of being a disciple of our Lord is the resolve to get around to following Him without reservations, questions, or excuses. For when Jesus called two sets of brothers to be his disciples in Matthew 4:18-22, first Peter and Andrew and then John and fames, their :response was the same, they immediately left behind their fishing nets and as a result became fishers of men.

In contrast to the countless people Jesus alludes to in his parable found in Luke 14:15-24, who respond to an invitation to a Great Banquet by making a variety of excuses as to why they couldn't get around to it:

"I have bought a field and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused."

I have bought five yoke of oxen and I have to examine them. Please have me excused.° "And I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come."

And fittingly enough, after telling this parable, Jesus goes on to emphasize the high cost of being a disciple in verses 25-32 of hating your own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, a willingness to bear your own cross, and counting the cost before building a tower and before entering into a war. Concluding with the sobering words, "So, therefore, any one of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple" (vs. 33).

And so, I ask you as you examine your Christian walk during this penitential season of tent:

"When are you going to get around to following the Lord?"

Listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart, as you ponder the following three questions:

1®: What is your Lord asking you to stop doing that you know you shouldn't be doing?

2d: What is He asking you to add to your life that you aren't doing now that you know you should be doing?

And 3: What is He asking you to keep on doing in your life that the world, the devil, and your own sinful flesh would tempt you to stop doing,

Just as a bear eventually comes out of hibernation with the passing of winter, the Holy Spirit fa calling you to come out of your spiritual hibernation in order that you would get around. to repenting of your sins in thought word and deed by what you have done and by what you have left undone, receive by faith the forgiveness of your sins that Jesus has made available to you through His sacrificial death on the cross, throw everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And run with perseverance the race marked out for you, fixing your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of your faith. (see Hebrews 12:1-2)

For while our Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love (Psalm 145:8), the danger of not getting around to answering when He calls us to follow Him is to develop a condition of a hardened heart and being foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, and ears that do not hear (Jeremiah 5:21).

One of the dangers of a lack of exercise is the atrophy of your bones and muscles along with the hardening of the arteries. And over the years if you continue to live a sedentary lifestyle, your get up and go will have gotten up and went. As the saying goes, Use it or Lose it!

Similarly, the danger of not getting around to exercising your faith is spiritual atrophy and developing a hardened heart that is insensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit And over time your get up and go will have gotten up and went along with your saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Hence, when Jesus was addressing the traditions and practices of the religious leaders of his day, he compared them to an old wine skin that has become so hardened that it cannot contain new wine (Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:21-22; Luke 5:33-39).

Similarly, we have to be extremely careful that we don't become so set in our ways and habits that we become hardened to the Holy Spirit's desire to push out of our comfort zones. in doing new things in following our Lord.

And so we are to continually examine ourselves and repent of any sins in our lives in order that we might be forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross in order that our old, stony hearts might be replaced by new and sensitive hearts that are open to our Lord's voice, lest we miss out on God's wonderful plan for us as His disciples.

Being a disciple isn't easy, especially when you don't feel like getting around to following the voice of our Lord. But when we keep in mind that His voice isn't just any old voice, but the very voice of the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for you that you might be His own (John 10:11), who promises to provide all your needs so that you will not be in want ... leads you in paths of righteousness for his name's sake ... and is with you always, even though you may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, so you have nothing to fear ... and surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life and you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23), why would you not want to follow such a loving Savior and Friend?

Still, you may protest, "I can't do it!" "What God is asking me to do is impossible!" "The cost fa just too great!" I'm too weak!" "I'm too much of a sinner!"

But just as you cannot by your own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, your Lord, or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called you by the Gospel so that you might have saving faith in Him, the same Holy Spirit has enlightened your:·th His gifts and sanctifies and keeps you in the true faith. In order that you might follow the voice of your Lord.

Consequently, you don't have to have wooden coin wit] letters TUIT on it, to get around to following your Lord. For you have been given the Holy Spirit who works in you to will and to

I act in order to fulfill His good purpose (Philippians 2.13).

Through Him, you can do all things who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). For when you are weak then He is strong! (2 Corinthians 12: 10). l

Therefore, with the help of the Holy Spirit, let us as disciples of our Lord, resolve to get around to it when it comes to following Him as individuals and as a church, joining the prophet Samuel in saying, "Speak Lord, for your servants are listening!" (1 Samuel 3:10).

Your Servant,
Pastor Wendt

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