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Divine Extravagance

Divine Extravagance

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Published by Joseph Winston

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Published by: Joseph Winston on Sep 28, 2009
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12/07/2009

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Divine Extravagance
Jody WinstonJuly 10, 2005
Sermon
Grace and peace are gifts for you from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Let’s listen in as a farmer goes down to the local bank and asks the loan officerfor some money to buy some seed, in other words the farmer is looking for a seedloan.
Banker
(excited about making possible a deal)
: “Hey Josh, it’s really good to seeyou!”
Josh
(good old boy)
: “Its good to see you too. You know how hard for me tocome in and spend some time with you because I’m so busy down on the farmwith work and such. Today’s no exception either, so I’ll just have to cut to thechase. I need to take out a seed loan.”
Banker
(still trying to work on making a deal)
: “You know Josh that I’d love tomake a deal with you and have your business. How many acres do you plan toplant this season?”
Josh
: “Well, I only have a small field down by the river that has good enough soilfor the type of seed that I’m planning to plant...
Banker
(interrupting)
: “Josh, then the loan should be easy enough for us to pro-cess. I’m glad to hear that this isn’t one of your wild and crazy ideas that I’ve
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Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Philemon 1:3.
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heard from you in the past. I’ll start on the paperwork right now so that you canget back to work.”
Josh
(slightly flustered)
: “Now hold on just a minute. I haven’t finished tellingyou about the land and until we can figure out the acreage, we can’t do the dealfor the seed loan. Where was I? That’s right, I was telling you about how muchseed that I needed. In addition to the river bottom, I’ve got some blacktop andcalichie roads, I also have over a good portion of the property poor soil on top of the limestone, and of course, I’ve got brush everywhere. By my calculations, I’llneed enough seed for about 37 billion acres (36,780,894,497). Think that we cando the deal?”
Banker
(confused)
: “Josh, Josh, I’ve never studied agriculture anywhere but itdoesn’t take a PhD in farm and ranch management from Texas A&M to evaluateyour business proposal. It just won’t work! Don’t you understand that what willhappen if you try to plant on the road? You’ll just feed the birds. Don’t you seethat you can’t plant anything of value in that thin soil either? The roots can’t getinto the rock. And don’t you get me started about trying to plant among the cedartrees. Nothing can live with those trees.Finally, your numbers they just don’t add up. This county only has 575 squaremiles! Since there are 640 acres to the square mile, that’s only 368, 000 acres.Josh, are you trying to buy enough seed for the entire earth?”
Josh
(matter of factly)
: “Well, yes I am.”I’m sure that at least one person on the crowded beach noticed the same problemin the parable told by Jesus. Farmers just don’t act this way. They never have andthey never will.By nature, farmers are frugal. They only have a limited number of hours inevery day to do the work that is set before them and they cannot afford to wasteany of their precious time on doing work that does not yield results. I know thatmany of you were taught a similar phrase by your parents and grandparents thatillustrates this point, “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” Thismotto must be a farmer’s creed because you never know what work tomorrowmight bring, so you must do your best on the jobs that you are required to dotoday. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that a farmer would ever waste time byplacing seeds where they would never grow.2
 
Farmers are thrifty. They only have a limited amount of working capital thatthey can spend on their crops. For most family farmers, the amount of moneythat they can spend on their crops is very small. They cannot throw their moneyaway like the farmer did in the parable told by Jesus because they never knowwhat the future might bring. They might need their money to fix a tractor thatbreaks with out warning, they could need their capital to pay for water duringan unexpected drought, or perhaps they might have to employ extra workers toharvest the crops before they ruin in the fields. Once again, I cannot believe thatany farmers would deliberately throw away good seed because that is not howfarmers normally behave.However, this parable told by Jesus in today’s Gospel reading is not a storyabout a farmer who carefully budgets his time and his money. It instead is a storyabout a different type of farmer, a farmer who is divinely extravagant. It is a storyabout God’s lavish love for all of creation.First and foremost, this parable is about God the Father. The Father was will-ing to do everything needed in order that the universe would be saved from oursin. He sent His only Son into the world so that all of the world would believe inGod and do Gods will. This action caused His Son to suffer and to die. Godslove for all of creation is divinely extravagant and we see this in Father’s actions.Secondly, this parable is about God the Son who commanded His Church togo into the world teaching, making disciples, and baptizing. This order to go intothe world by Jesus shows us that God’s concern for everyone continues with ushere on earth. In God’s Word, we hear of God’s extravagant love for the Churchand its mission.Finally, this parable is about God the Spirit who gives us everything that weneed. Not only does this include our daily needs of bread and water as we prayfor in the Lord’s Prayer but the Holy Spirit also gives us our faith in God and ourability to go and tell others about God. These gifts from the Holy Spirit, whichsustain us througout our lives are extravagant.Sometimes, we do not want to hear of the farmer who gives everyone whatthey need. Instead, we would prefer to turn our hearts into soil that causes God’sseed to wither. When we do this, we reject God’s message of love and act likehard soil, rocky soil, or soil that has thorny plants.Some of us might keep our lives so tightly packed with things that God’s seednever takes root. We are the ones who have bumper stickers that read, “Whoeverdies with the most toys wins.We think that our things will save us the pain of our sin but our things cannot love us nor can they forgive our sin. For a portionof us in this situation, our Day Timers or Palm Pilots are full with things that we3

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