The Scripture lessons for 7/17/2016 were Genesis 18:1-15; Colossians 1:21-29; and Luke 10:38-42. Pastor Roskowic entitled his message “Seek the LORD’s Face.” What I heard or caught from Pastor Roskowic’s message was we need to be wary of distractions and to whole-heartedly seek the Lord’s face.
Pastor Roskowic began his message with the Old Testament lesson where Abraham and Sarah receive three visitors. When the visitors arrived Abraham and Sarah received them with great hospitality. When the visitors told Abraham and Sarah that next year about that time Sarah would bear a son, Sarah laughs for according to Genesis 17:17 Abraham (99/100) and Sarah 89/90) were both beyond normal child-bearing years. God’s response to Abraham is “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).
Pastor Roskowic suggested that perhaps one of the reasons Sarah laughs at the news that she would bear a child the next year was she had been so distracted by being a hospitable host to her guests, that rather than being mindful of God’s power, she was caught off-guard and the suggestion of her baring a child at her age sounded utterly ridiculous and absurd.
(In Sarah’s defense we find Abraham just a short time earlier fell down laughing when God told him that within the year he and Sarah would have a son. We read in: Genesis 17:17-18 (NIV): “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’ And Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!’”)
Pastor Roskowic then jumps to the Gospel lesson for the day where Jesus comes and visits Mary and Martha. Pastor Roskowic suggested that Martha like Sarah gets distracted from “seeking the Lord’s face” because she is caught up in being a good host and being hospitable. In the process of being hospitable Martha becomes upset with her sister Mary who first sought to be with Jesus, in essence “to seek His face.” Jesus responds to Martha: “Martha, Martha, …you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42; NIV).
As I listened to Pastor Roskowic I was mindful that neither Sarah nor Martha were wrong in their desire to be hospitable. In fact Paul in Romans 12:13 tells us to “Practice hospitality.” They were misguided, however, because a very good thing in itself was distracting them from their focus upon Jesus. Here I am reminded of two passages I find significant – Matthew 22:37 and Hebrews 12:1-2.
Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV) ” Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This leads me to ask myself: “What do I tend to let interfere with seeking Jesus’ face and my fixing my eyes on Jesus?” “What things or types of things lay claim to my heart soul and mind.” “What things, perhaps good things in themselves, hinder and interfere with my relationship with Jesus and my abiding in Him, and with my accomplishing His will.
The Hebrews passage above in the second verse reminds us the even the cross did not distract Jesus from His focus upon us, His love for us and His accomplishing the Father will as He suffered and died to make atonement for our sins and the sins of all humankind.
Romans 5:8 (NIV) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 2:2 (NIV) “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
What about you? What helps you “seek the Lord’s face” and “fix your eyes on Jesus”? What hinders or distracts you from “seeking the Lord’s face” and “fixing your on Jesus”?
Jesus, lead, move and empower each of us to set aside everything that would hinder, entangle and encumber us from “fixing our eyes on You.” So be it!!!
Please share your reflections, questions and responses in the comment section below!