Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

January 28, 2013

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live.” And he said, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” “I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them. They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh, my lord,” he cried out, “it was borrowed!” The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it. – 2 Kings 6:1-7

You’ve probably heard it said: “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” Of course, the point is that we shouldn’t let ourselves be troubled and overrun by the little things of life. The incident that occurred in today’s Bible reading points us in that direction.

The tree-cutting was going well when one of the workers broke his borrowed ax, and the iron head flew into the Jordan River. “Where did it fall?” the prophet Elisha asked. When the man showed him the place, Elisha threw a stick in the water and “made the iron float.” “Lift it out,” he said. So the man “reached out his hand and took it.”

That miracle worked by the power of God illustrates an important truth: God cares about us and the things that affect our lives, such as lost ax heads, lost coins, lost keys, lost files, lost cell phones – the little things that cause us to fret and worry. He does not always restore what was lost – for his own good reasons – but he understands our loss and seeks to comfort us in our distress.

Recall a time when your child or grandchild was distressed over some small loss and your heart was touched by their distress. The broken or mislaid thing had little significance for you, but it wasn’t trifling to them. It mattered to you because it mattered to them, and your child or grandchild matter to you.

So it is with our heavenly Father. Our small worries and troubles matter to him because we mean everything to him. Just look at the cross and you will see how much we matter to God. We can cast all our cares, anxieties, worries, small stuff on him because he cares about us.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – trust that your heavenly Father will always take care of you.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for caring about my cares because you care about me. All the small stuff in my life that I like to sweat, I leave in your hands. In my Savior’s name. Amen.


Third Sunday after the Epiphany

January 27, 2013

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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God is Calling

January 21, 2013

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” – 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Now that very many people use a cell phone, it also seems that quite a number of people have learned a new skill – “selective answering.” Their cell phones ring; they look at who is calling, and in an instant decide whether or not they are going to answer. It is “selective answering.”

Unfortunately, too often we do something similar when it comes to the Lord’s communication with us. We use “selective listening.” When we read what God has to say in the Bible we think, “Go ahead and speak, LORD. I will think about what you have to say. Then, if I agree with it I will do it. If not, I am going to ignore it.”

In our Bible reading for today we hear about a young boy named Samuel who answered differently when the Lord spoke. Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Samuel didn’t wait to find out if he liked what God had to say. He was going to listen no matter what God had to say. Samuel trusted that whatever the Lord said, it would be important for him to hear and follow.

This is also true for us.  Everything the Lord tells us in his Word is important for us to hear and believe. Most importantly, he wants us to know about his love for us through Jesus whom he sent to save us from our sins. Everything that the Lord tells us in his Word is for our good.

Remember this the next time you read or hear God’s Word so that you can confidently say with Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times when I have doubted or disobeyed your Word. Give me a faith like Samuel so that I will always listen to your Word carefully and obey your Word faithfully. Amen.


Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 20, 2013

Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

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Record of Sins? Gone!

January 14, 2013

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. – Isaiah 43:25

There is a story about a man who was on his deathbed and had withheld forgiveness from a neighbor who had wronged him. His pastor persuaded him to see the man and forgive him. He finally agreed to this and the neighbor was led into his chamber where a formal reconciliation of the two took place. Then, as the neighbor was leaving, the dying man called out to him, “Remember, if I get better, this will all be off!”

We are relieved to learn that God is not like that dying man. He forgives and forgets our sin. He states with absolute certainty that his forgiveness is complete, that our sins are truly forgotten. He says “I am he who blots out your transgressions…and remembers your sins no more.”

God doesn’t say, “Remember, if circumstances change, this will be off!” The gift of his forgiveness is not surrounded by exceptions, conditions or exclusions. Jesus bore the punishment of all our sins by his suffering and death. When our Savior cried out on the cross, “It is finished!” he confirmed that the payment for every sin had been made. Jesus took away the sin of the world!

The first missionaries to Labrador found that the native people had no word for forgiveness in their language. The missionaries had to determine a way to express this precious gift of God. They made a glorious choice: “not-being-able-to-think-about-it-anymore.” God doesn’t recall our sin because Jesus paid the penalty for us. Through Jesus, we are free from guilt and free to live in peace and joy with God because he remembers our sins no more!

Prayer: Merciful God, fill me with the peace of forgiveness through Jesus Christ, your Son and my Savior. Amen.


The Baptism of Our Lord

January 13, 2013

First Sunday after the Epiphany

Matins, Page 208, Lutheran Worship

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Carlyn J. Unger, 1928-2013

January 7, 2013

The Memorial Service Bulletin

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