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Faith On The Move

Luke 12:32-40

The Rev. Jon Roberts

11 August

2019

Calvary Episcopal Church

Indian Rocks Beach, FL

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

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Christ, knocking at the door, c. 1980 Calvary Episcopal Church, Indian Rocks Beach, FL

Faith is actively on the move,
Yet to a destination not known.

One morning as Professor Thompson was leaving to go teach at his college, his wife told her absent-minded husband, “Don’t forget we are moving today. If you come to this house this afternoon it will be empty.” Predictably he didn’t remember until he found the house vacated that afternoon. He mumbled to himself, “And where was it we were moving to?” He went out in front of the house and asked a little girl, “Did you see a moving van here today, little girl?” “Yes,” she replied. “Can you tell me which way it went?” She looked up at him and said, “Yes, Daddy, I’ll show you.”

In 2013 a study was done to see, “How many times does the average person move in a lifetime?” Whether they’re changing jobs, upsizing their homes or just looking to move to a new neighborhood, Americans move an average of 11.7 times in their lifetime. Out of 11.7 times, one (1) move on average occurs before the age of 18; nine (9) of those moves occurs between the ages of 18-45, and the remaining two point seven (2.7) after the age of 45. In fact, between 2012 and 2013, a total of 36 million people aged one year or older moved. That’s about ten (10) percent. What were the reasons? 50% of moves were housing related; 30% of moves were family related; 20% of moves were job related. The study revealed the reason why most people moved was because they had a need to upsize or downsize. It also showed that moving occurs a lot when people are growing their family or watching children leave, going off to work or college on their own.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics studied American jobs and noted that the average person holds their current job for an average of five years. With that there may be the need to relocate if they are called to a different city. In such cases,…Faith is actively on the move, yet to a destination not known.
If someone knocked on your door today and asked you to move tomorrow, would you be able?
Such short notice. So much to consider. Is this a dire emergency? Is there an offer too good to be true? Maybe you’ve been thinking about moving all along, just waiting for the right opportunity? Sounds like we need a lot of faith. Then, again, who are we kidding? We are going to go on Google maps and study the new area. We are going to figure out if we can sell our house on the market quickly and calculate the cost of the move; compare the cost of living. Can your husband or wife find work right away? If we have kids, we may be thinking about the schools. Hopefully, you’re thinking about a church nearby. You will want to go there and make a site visit; to get a feel for the place and take a lot of pictures; perhaps video. When all of this is put together, then we are ready. Is this truly living by faith or a means to control risks and investments?

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” says St. Paul. Our lifetime is full of moving because Jesus is always knocking. There is an illustration of Jesus knocking at the door (seen at this church in a stained-glass window portrayal), calling upon those inside to be ready to go somewhere. Notice the doors in those days had no handle or knob to pull. It could only be pushed open from the inside. All the security and control of answering the call remained with the occupant. Only the person inside could let who was outside in. Security is important because people in Jesus’ day like in ours, were afraid someone could come in and take something valuable from us, unannounced. Jesus is calling upon his disciples to move and he knows they are afraid, because he says, “Do not be afraid, little flock.” He then goes on to tell them they need to downsize. So many Sunday sermons will emphasize the need to sell possessions; that you can’t take them with you when you go to heaven. That is true. To move into heaven, we cannot take all our things, but while we are still on earth, must we do this? Whenever you move somewhere, when you start to consider the place you are going, you start to look around and wonder if the new place has just as much space. Can you get all of your belongings into the new home? If not, something must go. You assess what is valuable. What are your treasures? “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” At a moment’s notice are you prepared to take up what is most important and leave the rest behind?

The story of Abraham is a further illustration of an active faith. God knocked on his door in a vision. He said, “Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield, your reward shall be great.” Our best moving stories are often due to the suddenness of the calling and the readiness of the heart. “I will come knocking.” “Do not be afraid.” Then, there is a more rapidly growing statistic of movers in our country.

Many people today, we see who move from one place to another, move because they believe that is all they can do. They need assurance for things hoped for. Their home is based on accepting the lot that falls upon them each day by the generosity of others. Their shelter is a bridge, a tent, a box. They have an active faith, yet to a destination not known. Within this act of moving, may we all have a spirit to think and do always those things that are right. May we move because God is calling us to think about a kingdom on earth that represents the kingdom in heaven, where we are called to move up.
Our only possession is our faith, actively on the move; to a destination we want to know.

[1] The Rev. Reginal Fuller, Teaching the Lectionary, adapted.
[2] The 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement/Current Population Survey
[3] Hebrews 11:1
[4] Luke 12:32-40
[5] Genesis 15:1-6

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