For most of us, when it comes to how we operate our lives, all of us can fall into familiar rhythms, patterns, and reactions that just come naturally to us. We have this built-in set of expectations that derive from our context, our culture, our personality, family, or just our nature as human beings. For many of you, you spent the first 18+ years of your life operating in this norm. You only knew what you knew and what you knew was best…at least, that is what we each may have thought…
But then, some life changes occurred. You may have left your confined comforts of home and normalcy for the workforce or for additional schooling or some may have even married and started a family. In all of these scenarios and situations, you more than likely rubbed shoulders and encountered some thoughts, ideas, and patterns of life that were different from yours; that did not fit your prefixed worldview. Some of these behaviors you might have thought as odd or strange, some were frustrating, and yet others you learned from and they made an impact on shaping your own worldview.
This week, we wrap up our two-month study looking at some of the parables that Jesus told about the Kingdom of God. We have been both confronted and invited to see this Kingdom like never before. This Kingdom is an upside-down, counter-cultural reality that really makes us think and revisit some of the natural expectations that we might have living here on Planet Earth. Each time, God’s Word comes to us with this life-giving reminder that His ways are best, His promises are sure, and His invitation remains intact to receive and be welcomed into Kingdom Life.
Our final parable this week from Matthew 20 shows us a great picture of this tension that exists between our sinful tendencies and worldview compared to the overwhelming grace given to us in the Gospel. In the end, the only reason we are given a place as a citizen in this Kingdom is by the mercy and generosity of the Savior. God did not have to include us in His plans, and He did not need our company for His happiness and contentment. Yet, He chose to create us, die for us, redeem us, sanctify us, and set us free to live with Him forever in paradise. How good is that?! As those who are both citizens of the Kingdom and those that are invited, we can rejoice in the fact that God calls us to Himself each day and He offers us glimpses of how He is at work in our lives and in our world as He is leading us home.
One last unique and special opportunity we have this upcoming Sunday is to have God’s Word proclaimed to us by a son of this congregation. Many of you know that our youth director, Drew Skog, grew up attending Oak Hill and is also in the midst of his journey in ministry as he is taking online classes through our Lutheran Brethren Seminary. As a part of Drew’s seminary experience, he gets the opportunity to get to create and preach in preparation for both his schooling and future ministry. This will be such a wonderful time for many of you who remember Drew as a young man and others who know him and see him in his role as youth director. Please be in prayer for him as he prepares to share God’s Word with us this week!
Pastor Ben Bigaouette