Aloha Friday Message – July 24, 2020 – A Bucket Wish

2030AFC072420 – A Bucket Wish

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A pile of keys outside an antique shop in Eton.

Matthew 13:47-50 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. What’s on your “bucket list?” Is there something you would really wish for before you check out? There have been some pretty silly movies about going after The Bucket List. And come to think of it, I don’t recall anyone ever telling me they wanted to end up as a basket case, or get crated off at the end. “What is the geezer talking about?” I am thinking about the response King Solomon gave when God said to him: that night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”  (See 1 Kings 3:5, NLT[1]) Solomon asked for wisdom to be able to judge right from wrong – Verse 9 in 1 Kings 3 says – Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people? Well, as you certainly know by now, I am no Solomon (thank God for that because Solomon was declared to be the first and last man of his endowments), but I do know there is a strong scriptural basis for the understanding that God is open to our requests. In the story of Bartimaeus (← Check it out!), Jesus asks “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus asks to see. In Matthew 8:2 and Luke 5:12, there is a man with leprosy who says, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” In Luke 5:13 we read 13 Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. Jesus touched him and said I do choose.” The healing was instantaneous and complete.

We also have Jesus’ declarations about praying in faith. In the Parable of the Unjust Judge (See Luke 18:1-8) Jesus says to pray and not lose heart. In Matthew 7:7, we read Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. We have another promise of Jesus’ help in Mark 11:24 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Jesus gives some remarkable advice – and great assurances of aid – in John 14:10-17. These two verses are especially important: 13 I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. 14 When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. (CEB)[2] What would I ask Jesus if he said to me, “Tell me what you want, and you can have it.”?

My answer would be found in verse 48 in today’s Key Verse selection – [they] put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. That word “baskets” gets translated several different ways. In the King James Version, and American Standard Version, it says “vessels.” In the New American Bible, it says “buckets.” In the New Revised Standard Version it says “Baskets.” In the New Living Translation it says “crates.” The Greek word is ἄγγη (angē) from ἀγγεῖον (aggeion) {ang-eye’-on} – vessel, especially a container for a catch of fish. The word in Hebrew is כְּלִ֣י (kə-lî) {kel-ee’} is something that is made for a purpose such as a vessel, armor, baskets, pots, and even a yoke. The point here is that what is good is put in a place designed to keep it in good condition; whatever is not good – not serviceable, not useful, not acceptable, not pure – is discarded. If Jesus’ question to me would be “What do you want me to do for you?”, I would say, “I want to end up in the bucket, put me in the basket, crate me up and put me by you safely forever.” That’s my “bucket wish.” Why would I wish for that? Because of verses 49-50! 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. That wish to be crated off, however, is the wrong request.

Say what? Let’s go back and look at Solomon’s request. Did he ask for a guaranteed spot on the Beulah Land Express? No, he asked for an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil. He asked for the proper tools to do the work God had given him, a way to take responsibility for doing the right thing. Here is one way Jesus put that in John 6:26-29 26 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” The proper tools I need then are whatever is necessary to believe in him whom God the Father has sent. Do you remember the story of the boy affected by an unclean spirit? The Disciples couldn’t cast the spirit out. The boy’s father asked Jesus to help his son, saying “if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus replied, “’If you are able!’—All things can be done for the one who believes.” The father’s response is a paradoxical prayer in which all of us can take hope: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (See Mark 9:14-29) The tool I most need to do the work God has given me is FAITH, and it is faith that will help me to discern between good and evil. It is also faith that will help me choose that which I discern as good over that which is evil. If my goal is to end up in the bucket because what is good is put in a place designed to keep it in good condition, then my work is to believe, to discern, to choose, and to do that which is good – every time.

Do you remember the story of The Rich Young Ruler? (See Matthew 19:16-22) He started off by asking, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments, to which the enquirer responded he was already doing that followed by “I have kept all these since I was a youth; what do I still lack?” Jesus’ response floored the guy: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” That young man’s job was to leave comfort behind and follow Jesus. He didn’t, as far as we know. He was looking for “that one thing” we all want to do to get Eternal Life. “That one thing” is to do the right thing.

KNOWING the right thing takes discernment, faith, and the act of choosing faith that will help me to discern between good and evil and then choose that which I discern as good over that which is evil. Where, how, in what circumstances do we experience that which is good and get sorted into the House of God? There’s a really good answer in the Epistle for this Sunday. Look at Romans 8:28 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. If we love God (in Three Persons), good will come our way because we will discern what is right, choose what is right, do what is right, and live our faith well beyond our unbelief. We will be caught up in that net cast into the sea of humanity and be sorted into the vessels that are destined for Glory. We need never find out what it means to experience weeping and gnashing of teeth. Perhaps in addition to praying, “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!” we can also pray “Lord I love. Help my lack of love.”

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

Creative Commons LicenseAloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


[1] Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

[2] Scripture quotations marked CEB Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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