Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
at the Anglican Parish of the Otways
Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
MOTIVES are a tricky phenomenon,
primarily because there is always the temptation
of having mixed motives.
I may want to express unqualified love for Richard
by bringing him a bottle of his favourite wine,
but behind it may be the desire to manipulate him
just a little bit, so I won’t feel guilty watching the
footy finals on the TV.
That might be a trivial example,
but motives are a serious business.
IN the Sermon on the Mount
Jesus derided the religious leaders for hypocrisy,
doing the right things for the wrong reasons.
Now in Chapter 20
Jesus shifts the attention to his disciples.
Unless we watch our motives,
we too can do the right things for the wrong reasons.
The parable we just read
is in response to Peter’s question
in the previous chapter
‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.
Peter reveals that he is motivated by the thought
of receiving a reward for his sacrifice of devotion to Jesus.
But Jesus illustrates that self-promotion can produce
envy and comparison,
which in turn can tear apart the cohesiveness
of any group or community.
Instead of being motivated by fairness or reward,
Jesus highlights the most noble of motivations is gratitude.
We can all understand Peter’s thinking,
but what Jesus illustrates in the parable
is that we must look deeply at what God has done for us.
We, who have nothing of our own
have been called into the kingdom of God
and endowed with the privilege of being a child of God,
with the promise of just recompense.
When we properly respect that privilege,
with a clear recognition of the dire alternative
of not being called into the kingdom,
a deep well of gratitude is produced in our heart.
All that we are, everything we have,
all that we ever hope to accomplish is a pure gift –
and the only appropriate response is gratitude.
The most profound significance of gratitude
is that it impacts not just the one
toward whom we should be grateful
but all other relationships as well.
What we do in giving ourselves in service of
the Kingdom of heaven should always
flows from a grateful heart.
God created humanity to serve as stewards of his creation.
We were to take care of it for God.
Tragically, with the entrance of sin
came the distortion of this stewardship,
so that men and women became self-centred,
with the desire to take instead of give,
to dominate instead of serve, to hate instead of love.
But when God’s love impelled him to give his son,
a fundamental change occurred in those
who humble themselves to receive his gift.
This transformation reverses the impulse from taking to giving,
from self-centredness to other-centeredness.
Because of the impact of God’s love in our lives,
we can now love.
And because of the transforming impact
of God’s gift of grace in our lives,
we can now give ourselves to serve others
as the only appropriate response of gratitude
for the gift God has given us.
The giving of ourselves – including our careers,
our relationships, our talents, our resources, and our time –
flows from a transformation of our lives `
produced by God’s giving to us.
If we are devoted to connecting with God in gratitude,
and connecting to others in love and service,
then the transformation of our lives will help
us bring healing to ourselves and others.
Thus we demonstrate the heart of God in our lives.
The Lord be with you!
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.