For many of us, we think of Jesus’ grace as something that wipes our ledger clean, something that gets us a pass into heaven. That’s true, but Jesus’ grace is so much more than that. It is a grace that claims our whole lives. It is a grace that makes us into new and more holy people. It is a grace that makes us work for justice and freedom, care about oppression and lift up those who have been hurt.
We are called to be ordinary, everyday heroes, who refuse to conform when faced with evil. You may wonder, “Who am I to do such a thing?” I’m no Moses or David, no prophet or king.
The story of Joseph reminds us that we serve a God of grace and transformation. We serve a God who knows there is pain and evil in the world, but is working to bring healing and wholeness and love back into it. And God wants us to be a part of it too. God’s grace is powerful enough that even our worst enemies may one day be again our brothers and sisters.
And as much as Joseph’s story is a story of family, it is also the story of our world. It is the story of how we have treated people whenever we have stopped seeing them as human beings, when we have not viewed them as brothers and sisters worth our protection, love, and safety.
Jesus, in our passage for today, invites us to go after the true treasure with all that we have. He knows where true joy, true love, true life is found. It comes in following him. And he is telling us there is no amount of comfort, of possessions, of wealth or privilege or anything else that is worth more than this treasure. And sometimes it takes giving up those things to get to the true treasure.
From the very beginning God did not want us to be alone. God wanted us to know romance. God wanted us to know friendship. God wanted us to know love and play and fellowship with one another. God wanted us to know community.
How can we read passages like this one and believe women should preach and lead and be ordained?
The only thing that will get us there is God’s grace. The full amazingness of God’s grace is not just that it forgives our sins, not just that it saves us from death, but that somehow God’s grace will one day, in an instant, completely transform our hearts and minds and souls. Our brokenness will be healed. Our sin stripped away. And we will know what it means to be fully children of God.
That yearning, that search for truth, that restless drive that there is something greater out there, it was just as alive and present 2,000 years ago as it is today. Paul met it when we arrived in Athens for the very first time.
As Paul talks about our gifts of the Spirit, I can’t help but also be reminded of Jesus’ message to us: “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others.” If you ever wonder, what is a spiritual gift, this is my definition for you: It is that which brings light out of darkness. It is whatever makes this world more beautiful and wondrous and full of love. Your spiritual gift is when your light shines for the whole world to see.