Second, live like Paul. Work hard and well. There were some people in the church that Paul was writing to who, in his words, were idle and disruptive, not busy but busybodies. Who spent time stirring up trouble, sharing untrue stories on Facebook. They were more willing to offer advice than they were to offer models. Unlike Paul who had a part-time job which he worked to pay his bills rather than always taking up an offering. It’s like the words to Jeremiah. Work for the good of the people around you. (Like my friends in the photo serving at a wedding feast)
Third, be cautious about people with answers. There will be false messiahs, Jesus says. People who say, “I’ve got a brand new message from Jesus.” Or who say, “the time is really really close, give up caring for others and start hiding.” And for the past 2000 years, there have been people who have offered themselves as the new messiah, the new savior, the new hope. Who have fed a paranoia. Political leaders, inventors, social movement leaders. Instead, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, writes the author of Hebrews. This one thing I do, Paul says, to follow Christ.
Finally, know that there can be suffering and betrayal that isn’t because you are doing something wrong. And don’t blame God for the people who are mad at you because you are a jerk.
There’s a lot of anger this week, and grief, and pride. People who are following Jesus aren’t immune. Our invitation this morning is to stop depending on the human answers, no matter how beautiful the temple may look. Instead, we can follow Jesus.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.