Is There Any Hope for Me?

Today’s Journey Through the Scriptures Readings
Leviticus 8-10; Matthew 25:31-46

Hope

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me (Matthew 25:41-43, Common English Bible).

Every time I read “The Judgement of the Nations,” aka “The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) I start to feel guilty. Here is why. Last Saturday, Cindy and I were out doing some running around. We had things that needed to be done. As we were stopping at a traffic light, we encountered a sight that has become all too common in our society. There was a woman walking from car to car, her little cardboard sign in hand that said, “Single mom, need help, rent due, need food, need a job” or words to that effect.

When I started looking around the intersection, there was a woman, carrying a sign that said much the same thing. I never give folks like this money. Authorities on homelessness say giving money is the worst thing you can do for them. I often try to keep a little food something in the car just for this purpose. Saturday we just kept driving.

Jesus didn’t say that under some circumstances you can just walk away from need. Well, in my care I drove away. Because these women said they were alone with their kids, having no visible means of support, did I have a responsibility? Did I have an opportunity to serve? I think I did and I let it pass me by. Sure, I shouldn’t give them money but I should have also looked for another way.

Back in my seminary days, I was riding in Dallas with my friend Marty. We were at an intersection much like I was last Saturday. There was a man with a similar sign. Marty stopped the car, got out, asked the guy if he wanted to get something to eat. He said he did, got in the car and we drove to the closest grocery store, where Marty proceeded to buy the man some groceries. Marty found a way and would be one of those on the right.

That day, I was one of those on the left? I failed in my calling at that moment. Jesus says that for those of us who fail, unending fire is the end result. Wow! Is there any hope for me?

Yes! There is hope. As I think about it, I would think there are very few of us who have not, at some point walked/drove past just such a person. Even if we have not, there is something in our lives that keep us from reaching the Kingdom. That something? That something is grace. We all need it and often don’t realize we have failed and whether the people begging on the streets are ignored by us or some other sin, we are all in need of God’s grace.

So, I will take what I have, realizing I will never be alone. I may mess up. I may fall down. But in the end, grace will pick me up and move me further on my way.

Is there any hope for me? Praise God, yes! There is hope among all those gifts. Perhaps I need to remember that God is present and where God is, there is always room for hope.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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