The 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 26 Jul 2020
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God of eternal wisdom, you alone impart the gift of right judgement. Grant us an understanding heart, that we may value wisely the treasure of your kingdom and gladly forgo all lesser gifts to possess that kingdom’s incomparable joy. We pray through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen
“Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven
is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah – Mennonite Hour Men’s Quartet
A Reading from the Old Testament: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 (CEV)
One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.”
Lord God, I’m your servant, and you’ve made me king in my father’s place. But I’m very young and know so little about being a leader. And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count.
Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don’t, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.
Solomon, I’m pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. So I’ll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live.
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 13:44-52 (CEV)
A Hidden Treasure
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when someone finds a treasure hidden in a field and buries it again. A person like that is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that field.
A Valuable Pearl
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a shop owner is looking for fine pearls. After finding a very valuable one, the owner goes and sells everything in order to buy that pearl.
A Fish Net
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a net is thrown into a lake and catches all kinds of fish. When the net is full, it is dragged to the shore, and the fishermen sit down to separate the fish. They keep the good ones, but throw the bad ones away. That’s how it will be at the end of time. Angels will come and separate the evil people from the ones who have done right. Then those evil people will be thrown into a flaming furnace, where they will cry and grit their teeth in pain.
New and Old Treasures
Jesus asked his disciples if they understood all these things. They said, “Yes, we do.”
So he told them, “Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”
Psalm 119:33-40 (ESV) – The Corner Room
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
Dear heavenly Father, you number our hairs and determine our days; you hang the stars and feed the sparrows; you open doors no one can shut and shut doors no one can open. Surely, we can trust you when the time comes for making decisions. Father, we will trust you for generous wisdom, straight paths and peaceful hearts, all for your glory.
- How we praise you for being the decision-making-God. It’s not our decisions, but yours that make all the difference.
- We will plan, but we trust you to order our steps.
- We will pray, but ask you to fix our prayers en route to heaven.
- We will seek counsel, but count on you to overrule faulty or incomplete input from our most trusted friends and mentors.
- We will search the Scriptures, but not looking for proof texts but for you, Father. All we want and need is you.
Free us from the paralysis of analysis—wanting make the right decision, more than we want to be righteous people; wanting to be known as wise people, more than we want to know you.
- Free us from the idolatry of assuming there’s only one “perfect” choice in any given situation.
- Free us from making decisions primary for our comfort and other’s approval, or fear their disapproval.
- Free us to know that good choices don’t always lead to the easiest outcomes, especially at first.
- Free us from second and twenty-second guessing our decisions.
Father, we know that in ALL things, your will is our sanctification—our becoming more and more like Jesus. Give us this passion; make it our delight, even as we trust you for the opening and closing of doors that are in front of us. All for your glory – in the name of our reigning King, Jesus we pray. Amen
Nothing But Goodness – North Central University Worship Live
Closing – Romans 8:28-30 (CEV)
We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children. God then accepted the people he had already decided to choose, and he has shared his glory with them.
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen