Services are on Sundays at 7.30am and 9.15am. Mask wearing, sanitising and social distancing are suggested. We strongly encourage everyone to the fully vaccinated.
The full Service Slides, including the hymns, readings, prayers, other liturgy and notices may be found on our website.
Sermon by Archdeacon Thami Tembe (Luke 9:51-62)
I greet you all people of God on this the 13th Sunday of the year and 3rd Sunday after the day of Pentecost.
Our Gospel reading is from the Gospel according to St Luke, chapter 9, vs 51-62. And I only quote vs 62 for you which reads thus “Jesus said to him no one who put a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”. In our Gospel reading today people of God we see how Jesus Christ headed for Jerusalem even though he knew that death awaited him. The love of his ministry and faithfulness to the task given to him by God the Father conquered all fear and all doubts. People of God, faithfulness to a person, faithfulness to the cause or to the belief can be very costly at time.
In the first of our Gospel according to St Luke, we see the hostility that Christ Jesus encountered from the people of the Samaritan village, and we see how Jesus Christ refused to retaliate as James and John wanted him to. Jesus Christ took a stand or he took a position not to return evil with evil. Why was Jesus Christ like that? He was like that because he knew his destiny. He was like that because he accepted what God the Father wanted him to do. He did that people of God because God the Father has prepared him for that course. He did that because he was empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to take anything that comes with his calling or anything that comes with his servanthood.
People of God, how many of us here today will be on the same position to take everything that comes with their calling or everything that comes with their commitment to God who calls? At the time of Jesus Christ people of God Samaritans and Jews were mutual enemies, so when the inhabitants of the town of the Samaritan village heard that Jesus Christ was heading towards Jerusalem, they refused to receive him or to listen to him. That angered James and John and they saw a good opportunity to hit back on him by asking Jesus Christ to bring fire upon the city of Samaritan. But Jesus Christ rose above their hatred and tribalism and he taught them love. Jesus Christ taught them that they were other ways of dealing with things. When Jesus Christ was busy dealing with James and John and tribalism he was facing a Samaritan village, boom came three would-be followers of Christ Jesus. English is correct when it says “When it rains, it pours”. Have you ever felt how difficult it is people of God to work with people who don’t care or people who are selfish? What I want all of us to remember and understand as from today is selfish people don’t care about you unless
you are doing something for them.
Most of the people don’t want to be part of the process they just want to be part of the outcome, forgetting that it is the process that makes one to figure out who is worthy being part of the outcome. Perseverance. Jesus Christ said to three would-be followers “No one who put a hand into the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God”. What was Jesus Christ highlighting here? He was stressing the need for commitment and saying that there could be no turning back when God calls. Jesus Christ was saying, if you wish to plough a straight furrow, you must give yourself
undivided attention to what you are doing.
If you keep looking back, you won’t do a good job in what you are doing. People of God, you need to dedicate yourself to what you are doing, you need to give 100% commitment to what you are doing for God and God will do the rest. If you begin any task, you should give it your all. Wow! Maybe Jesus Christ is talking to you and to me today.
Let me ask these questions. Do you have a plan of what you want to do and how you are going to do it for God? Are you committed to what you believe in or you just kill time by being where you are today? Is your mind and soul where your body is, or you are here because you need some employment, no commitment and no dedication at all?
People of God, all of us have put our hands to some plough or other. Young people you have put your hands on the plough of your studies. Do justice, study and pass your exams. Husband and wives, you have put your hands to the plough which is your marriage and families. Be leaders, be committed to them or to us priests. We have put our hands in another plough which is ministry, so let minister. Let search for God people and bring them to God. As Christians it is in our baptism that we have put our hands to another plough – that plough is following Jesus Christ or becoming disciples
of Christ Jesus.
Why does our discipleship as Christians not grow to the next level? We now and then compromise our commitment, we now and then forget who Christ is because we want to fit in a certain type of people in the society. If we keep looking back after putting our hands in the discipleship our attention will be divided so will be our energy in what we want to do for God. We won’t be fully committed. It will be easy for us to quit when things are not working our way.
But if we look back, we’ll be suggesting that we having second thought or we are having regrets or doubts of why we put our
hands on the plough. Who knows? Maybe we are finding the cost of discipleship too high for us to comprehend. As Christians people of God, we find our strength from looking forward, so says our hymn “Onwards Christian Soldiers.” We will give our individual attention and the rate of our commitment will be very high.
Looking forward people of God, will give us strength nor to be easily side tracked by anything that comes in our calling. We won’t be side-tracked to our vision, we’ll know that our help is in the name of God who has made heaven and earth. Why many of us are complaining about tasks and hardship in our calling it because we are not there 100%. We do other things because it is fun to do them and no serving of God and no commitment to them.
Those who are whole-hearted find joy in the tasks despite hardships they meet in the process. The message for you today is, don’t turn back, and don’t even look back no matter what happens in your life. Let’s obey our calling and don’t ever compromise what God has given to us individually. The secret of not looking back is keeping our eyes on Christ and on the cross of Christ our Lord.
This reminds me of the story of an athlete who was very good in running 100 meter, he qualified to run 100 meter when the Olympics started. Disappointment came when 100 meter race was scheduled for Sunday and because he was committed on the day of the Lord which was Sunday, he refused to run. He received pressure from all sectors of life, even from the President of his country, he still refused to go against his belief-
commitment. He suggested to his coach to swoop with his teammate who was running 400 meters. What happened? His teammate won gold in 400 meters and he ran 400 meter the following day which was on Monday and he won gold too, which means they won 2 gold medals instead of 1 gold medal.
Where our hearts are, God will be the way. What about us people of God, will we ever do that? Will we ever day no because it is the day of the Lord? Will we ever say no I can’t do it, because it’s Sunday I need to go and worship? We fail in life in most cases because we are trying to fit God into our lives instead trying to fit our lives against what God wants us to be? When we journey with God people of God, there will be times when our minds won’t go into God’s sanctuary. That is when we need to spend our hour in God’s waiting room. We will still be there with God and our God
appreciates our struggle to stay there until we find him- commitment. If we are having trouble keeping our eyes focused on Christ Jesus, if we are having trouble keeping our hands to the plough and not looking back, if we are experiencing emptiness in our life, maybe people of God we should seriously consider making some daily commitment to Christ Jesus and he will be everything.
This kind of dedication is a great challenge, it may be easy to start but in order to perceive, we need the grace of God. It is that grace that will keep us faithful to God and to one another. Only God to help us to stay at the chosen road to perceive at his chosen task. Then the joy of dedication will be felt and in due time be found fit for the Kingdom of God as followers of God who are committed to Him. People of God, the secret of not looking back is keeping our eyes on Christ Jesus. Amen
During this difficult time of the global pandemic, you are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account: Account Name: St Paul’s Church Account Number: 50854628623 Bank: First National Bank (FNB) Branch Code: