14th Sunday after Pentecost

14th Sunday after Pentecost

August 21, 2016

Luke 10:1-20

“But I’m Too Busy”

Grace, mercy, and peace be and abide with you all in the name of our living Savior Jesus. This week we continue a 4-week sermon series on the excuses we make for not serving our Lord or our Church. The basis for the sermon is today’s Gospel lesson from Luke 10 and the excuse we will examine is “but I’m too busy.”

My dear friends,

Excuses are like those port-o-potties at every major summer event. You hate the fact you have to use one, there’s never a good one when you really need one, and they always stink. However, in our collective lives in church, almost everyone has an excuse as to why they cannot help with this or be on that board or attend that function or give to that project. And so, this month we will examine the most common excuses and today we consider the excuse of “I’m too busy ” and we do so in the context of today’s Gospel lesson from Luke 10.

Our text is Jesus sending out the seventy-two, a larger gathering of disciples than the Twelve, still very faithful servants, two-by-two, to every town he himself is about to visit. Did any of those 72 tell Jesus they were “too busy” to be sent? Nope. Were any on them “too busy” to make that mission commitment for our Lord? Nope. Did any of them reply they were “too busy” so Jesus should send someone else or maybe we can do this a different day? Well…you get the picture.

“Whatever house you enter,” Jesus tells the seventy-two as he sends them out, “first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ ” (v 5). That’s just the kind of thing I like to hear in a world of so much turmoil. Yeah…but…we cannot then also forget His words of clear judgment: “Whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say,” Jesus says, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom (Biblical example of evil) than for that town” (vv 10–11a, 12).

How would the excuse hold up then? “Sorry Jesus…we were too busy to receive your servants. Our bad Jesus…but we were really busy when they came. You know, it being summer and all.” Do you think Jesus would buy that? Our God is a God of commitment, not of excuses.

And yet excuses are exactly what we give God this time of year. Its summer – the “dog days” of the Pentecost season – and often during these long hot days we find half our congregation is gone in northern climates; most of our laborers are hardly around.  And so, this is the PERFECT time of year when everyone has an excuse of being too busy to commit to the work of the kingdom: the summers are too long and hot, we are busy doing “summer” stuff now anyways, and we can be in or help at church after September, and on and on it goes. One almost thinks that in Ecclesiastes 3 there must also be the statement “for every thing there is a season. A time to be born and a time to make excuses (summer).” Last time I checked, the Bible doesn’t say that. Luke doesn’t include the fact that any of the 72 make an excuse as to why they were too busy and couldn’t be sent. Jesus said it needed to be done. They did it. No excuses involved.

Aside from the excuses, though, the message that Luke speaks about Jesus is fuller and more complicated and more important for you and me. Today Jesus doesn’t necessarily speak about lessons in evangelism or even about excuse-making, but rather on the urgency of his kingdom. {paraphrase} “Tell them,” he says, “that the kingdom of God has come near to you. Tell them that, even if they refuse to share peace with you. Even if they make excuses telling you they’re too busy to receive you or chase you into the street and shout  as you leave their town. Even then, tell them that the kingdom, the reigning of God, has come near to you.”

For, ultimately, that announcement is the only one that matters. Not “I’m too busy” and not “we don’t like to go outside because it’s summer.” “The kingdom of God has come.” That really matters; it really makes a daily difference.

It can and does make a difference in the lives who hear the message, and this community needs it BADLY! Everyone thinks life on the Sun Coast is all sunshine, rainbows, and sandy beaches. Did you know that in Bradenton alone there are 3-4 heroin overdoses every day?  1st responders so far this year have responded to more than 2700 drug overdoses – a number that will easily exceed 4000 by year’s end. People here are lonely. They are struggling financially. They are beaten down by sin and they need to hear of the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ and the restoration and hope that only His cross and empty grave can give. They need to know that the Kingdom of God has come near FOR THEM TOO!

What is Jesus calling us to do as a congregation? What needs are there in this place and abroad that need our attention, our prayers, our commitment, but to which we have the nerve to respond “I’m too busy?” What are you too busy doing to tell Him and His kingdom “no”? Yeah…I couldn’t think of anything good either.

Amen.