Week 2 – April 05, 2020: God of Second, Third and 490th… Chances

(Luke 13:6-9) Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered,

Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”

I was supposed to be off yesterday. After a long hard week I was looking forward to staying home and hanging out with Tucker.  And then I got a call that there was something wrong at the Owasso Campus and I needed to go fix it. I grabbed my keys and headed to the office to pick up spare parts; but it could be more than one thing so I prepared for anything.  Julian and I configured a spare switch and I stole the power supply from my own office switch.  Then I loaded up and headed to Tulsa.  

The problem was having an adverse effect on them and needing to get there quickly I headed out, even though I only had a bit over a quarter of a tank of gas.  By the time I arrived I was pretty much down to fumes in the tank so I stopped for gas and went to the campus.

The simple fix was replacing the power supply, so with a brief prayer I handed a new one to the Maintenance Director there and waited for the results.  He came back a few minutes later saying that it was working. So I spent four and a half hours going to the building, building a spare switch, driving to Owasso and back home to deliver a fist sized part to the Maintenance director, on my day off.

As I was returning to OKC on the turnpike I noticed that a lot of folks seemed to be either driving crazy fast or dawdling along at five or ten mph below the speed limit. Both of which frustrate me when having to turn the cruise off and on and off and on. People were either zipping around me or I was getting stuck behind them the whole way. I just wanted to be done for the day. So as I was driving I started calling a few of our folks to check on them and hear their voice.  In one call I found out about a need for a few dollars for someone. I do not carry cash often so I decided to go to the ATM and get the cash before going to the house. 

Going past my normal exit for home to Danforth, I got off I-35 and headed to the ATM, by this time I was really impatient to get home.  I picked up the money and headed toward the church where I was going to leave it. Moments later I was back on Midwest headed home and really ready to be done.

Driving south I found myself behind another dawdler and in a fit of impatience, noticed I was in a passing zone.  I gunned the van to go around her and as soon as I got in the other lane I saw the single headlight of a motorcycle about ¾ of a mile away.  My first thought was why would anyone be riding a motorcycle when it is forty degrees outside?  My next thought was it has to be a police officer, and my next thought was to find a place to pull over. 

Sure enough I saw the red and blue lights as I was pulled over for the first time in over 20 years.  The officer was very put out with me and I readily confessed to my poor judgement and lack of discipline.  He explained that If I had hit and killed someone while driving highway speed on that road I would not only go to prison for negligent homicide, I would have to face the family of the loved one I had killed.  I sheepishly accepted responsibility and confessed my sin and then something amazing happened.  He told me to learn from this and to drive safely home. Then he got back on his motorcycle and headed off without giving me the ticket that I so richly deserved.  A second chance, or actually considering how many times I have not followed the rules of driving as I should; it was at least a 490th chance for me.

So what has this got to do with our verses today?  Sometimes we rural folk have a tendency to see God’s Judgement in disasters that hit the big cities where people seem to ignore or revile God.  For instance some might, in the back of their minds, think that New York City is the epicenter of the worst of the Coronavirus outbreak because they are “worse sinners”.

But Jesus is telling us in this passage that there is more to things than people getting their just desserts.  You see we all need second, third, fourth, fifth, 490th and even more chances. Our Lord is the God of many chances to turn to Him.  Jesus is telling us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” He is telling us that we all need a Savior, and that these events that may seem like judgements are intended to turn our eyes to God.  That we have no reason to boast. That we should repent of our own sins and offer additional chances to those around us as God does for us.

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:21-24)

You see God did it all for us. None of us deserve even a second chance. A world without any justice would be intolerable not just to God but to us as well.  So our Loving God gave His only son to die so that Justice would be served and gave mankind our second chance through His Son Jesus.  If we by faith in Jesus will confess our sins He is faithful to forgive them.  The second time, the third time, the fourth time…

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. (Romans 3:25-27)

Can I do less for others, than what He does for me every time I sin?  Can You?

Zach Williams: Rescue Story

2 Responses to Week 2 – April 05, 2020: God of Second, Third and 490th… Chances

  1. Bradley Ward says:

    Amen good message

  2. Randel Brown says:

    I loved this message. You have always been such a great writer. Blessings my old friend. I think about you so often and am delighted that my “Charlie” is still Charlie. You are as honest and humble as they come. Thanks for the beautiful message. I pray you and your family are safe and blessed.
    Randel Brown

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