Country Pastor column: With God there are no lost causes
Does God have lost causes? I don't know whom you picture in your mind when I pose that question. You might even think of the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus, whose sole goal and purpose seemed to be the demise of God's Son. Yet what we see in the words that guide our meditation today seems to fly in the face of that logic. Take a few moments and read through Matthew 21:33-46, an account of God's reckless love.
What you just read was Jesus' answer to those who questioned him about his authority. What I find to be especially interesting here is that Jesus spoke these words the Monday before he was crucified. He spoke this to the very people who were represented by those wicked farmers, the Pharisees and chief priests. And in so doing, Jesus was himself fulfilling his part in the parable: that of the sacrificial Son.
See, what makes God's love so reckless is the fact that it's shown to people who are so completely unworthy. All too often those to whom his Word is sent, reject that Word. So he is like that vineyard owner, whose previous experience should have prevented him from sending more servants...much less his Son. Yet he wanted so deeply to change the hearts of those wicked servants—who we might consider lost causes—that in reckless love he says, "They will respect my Son."
This is the heart of the Almighty God, who not only has power over all creation, but who is deeply concerned with each individual person. And that includes you. See, just as Jesus was personally concerned with those Pharisees and chief priests that he addressed on that Monday so long ago...so he's speaking to you and me through his Word today. When I read this, I see a mirror of my sins held to my face.
Maybe you haven't been to church in awhile. Maybe your management of God's gifts has been less than stellar. Maybe your heart has placed other goods as idols over God. Or maybe, like those Pharisees you think you're doing pretty well, and pride and arrogance are your downfall. But know, that no matter your sins or shortcomings are, with God there are no lost causes. Maybe you feel lost, as hopeless, helplessness, anxiety, and stress seem to bombard you in a never-ending stream. Yet no matter what your struggles are, with God there are no lost causes.
God's reckless love is for you. That means that God will never turn his back on you because you've drifted too far from him. That means that no matter your neglect of his Word, Jesus will continue to send that Word to you for as long as you live. That means no matter your fears or anxieties, Jesus wraps you in his forgiving embrace, an embrace he extended on the cross for you.
See, the reason I know God's reckless love is for you is because of what Jesus did later that week: recklessly giving his life, though he was innocent of crimes. Or so it seemed. Jesus would die on a cross of wood at the command of the very souls he came to save. But the reason why? God's reckless love. Jesus loved you too much not to do everything, including giving up his own life to save yours. His forgiving blood has cleansed you of anything and everything that could be counted against you. Now that's a vineyard owner who has done everything to prove there are no lost causes there. That's God's reckless love. Amen.
This column was written by Pastor Timothy Rosenow of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Prescott.