”To­day” is the dif­fer­ence in our lives

The Covington News - - Religion - Jonathan Scharf Colum­nist Jonathan Scharf is pas­tor of Abid­ing Grace Lutheran Church in Cov­ing­ton. Full ser­mons and more in­for­ma­tion can be found at www. abid­ing­grace. com.

Last week, we looked at the story of Zac­cha­eus ( Luke 19: 1-10) and heard Je­sus tell that sin­ful tax col­lec­tor “ To­day, sal­va­tion has come to this house.”

What a dif­fer­ence it made that on that day Je­sus calls “to­day” — Zac­cha­eus re­al­ized how much he needed Je­sus. To­day — Je­sus changed Zac­cha­eus’ heart by show­ing him that from this “to­day” on — Je­sus’ love would al­ways be there.

And he’s done the same for you and me. The rea­son for all of it is recorded in Luke 19:10, where Je­sus makes his pur­pose clear, “The Son of Man (that’s Je­sus) came to seek and to save what was lost.”

That’s bet­ter than if he had used my own name in there. Some­one else may have the name “Jonathan Scharf” — but the fact that he came to seek and to save “ the lost” — well of course that’s me. That’s what sin made us. Based on our fail­ures, we had “ lost” heaven, we had “lost” our way, we were “lost.” That is whom Je­sus came for. He came for the lost, so we know we can al­ways see him seek­ing us.

He came to seek and to save you. Even when you don’t de­serve it, when you re­al­ize how help­less you are with­out him, when you’ve fig­ured out you can’t han­dle it on your own. Je­sus came to seek, to search for, strive af­ter and find, to seek and to save what was lost.

When we see clearly Je­sus’ love that we so des­per­ately need, our lives change. There is no way we can want to go back to be­ing “ lost” once he’s found us. In to­day’s read­ing from Luke 19, when Zac­cha­eus saw Je­sus’ love for him, he gave away all his wealth. He re­al­ized how at­tached he had been to it, and now his at­tach­ment was to Je­sus in­stead, and like Je­sus said, you can’t serve both God and money. So Zac­cha­eus gave up his money be­cause he wanted to serve God.

How many of you re­al­ize the pull of money in your lives ( whether you have a lot of it or not much at all)? How many of you re­al­ize the prob­lems your re­la­tion­ship with money has caused? Are you ready to write a check for half of your wealth to Abid­ing Grace?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not ask­ing for your money for our church. And Je­sus doesn’t say you have to go broke giv­ing, ei­ther. I just want you to se­ri­ously think about that ques­tion to demon­strate to your­self whether you’re acting more like Zac­cha­eus be­fore or af­ter he saw Je­sus’ love.

Je­sus’ love changed ev­ery­thing for Zac­cha­eus that day. and it changes ev­ery­thing for us to­day. Think about what it means that he came to seek and to save you. Sac­ri­fic­ing all his com­fort and honor, he stepped into your shoes and took your guilt. He paid for it with his blood on the cross. While we were still sin­ners, Christ died for us. That’s the day that mat­ters, and to­day, Je­sus wants you to know it.

You might be up a tree to­day like Zac­cha­eus, even out on a limb. And it may seem like you’re all alone and that no one no­tices. But to­day mat­ters, be­cause to­day, Je­sus is call­ing out to you. The one who died for you, he’s call­ing out to you and say­ing, “ To­day, I want to be in your house. To­day, I want to be in your life. To­day, I want you be­cause I love you.” To­day makes a dif­fer­ence. May God bless you as you live that dif­fer­ence to­day like Zac­cha­eus.

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