“The Channel of Blessings”
I want to start with something funny. I heard about this couple. They were driving down the road. When they came to a crossing sign, it said, “Nakadochis forty miles ahead.” They began to argue about how to pronounce the name “Nakadochis” correctly. The husband got so upset. He told his wife he would stop to prove she was wrong when they got to the town. They drove silently for the next thirty minutes. He pulled their car over at the first fast-food restaurant when they arrived. They both marched up to the counter. And he told a young lady working there. “My wife and I have been arguing for the last thirty minutes. Would you please tell us, very slowly and very clearly, how to pronounce the name of this place?” The young girl’s eyes got big, and she leaned over the counter and said, “Bur~ger~ King [Burger King].”
We sometimes argue with one another about small things. The argument leads us to fight with each other. But, after a while, we forget why we started arguing and fighting, and then we begin to hate each other. If you feel something is going wrong, stop immediately and take a slow, deep breath in and out, and look at each other. There is nothing more important than your family, friends, and neighbors. We all have different ideas, characters, behaviors, tendencies, and preferences. These things may differ between sisters and brothers and even husbands and wives. The thing that can make a difference and keep the peace between us is love. The way a husband and wife, a friend and a friend, a brother and sister, or even you and I may keep our peace is to love each other. Isn’t it the reason we gathered together at church this morning? We gathered here because we “love God” and we “love one another.” You are there because your love is more significant than your hate.
If you ask those who don’t want to come back to the church, they may say, “I don’t like something,” or “I don’t like someone.” They don’t want to come back because their hate for something or someone is bigger than their love. Remember, nothing compares with Jesus’ love, which he showed when he died on the cross for our sins. Our sins are forgiven by Jesus’ love and God’s grace. It is not because we became righteous by our acts, but because God’s grace and Jesus’ love are greater than our sins. The disciple Peter says, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). “Love one another as you love yourself” means that others are also as precious as you are. Love yourself and others as Jesus loves you, and become the channel of blessings because God chose you as the channel of his blessing.
While I was on vacation, I met several friends and colleagues. It was such a joy to visit everyone because it was a time to learn and grow in ministerial wisdom. One of them asked me, “What is your favorite thing about becoming a pastor?” I said, “It is that I have the authority to bless people. I believe a pastor that God sent has the authority to bless people, not curse or hate people.” What do you think? God sends a pastor to proclaim the good news, not the bad news, right? I cannot proclaim the bad news to you from the altar. If I hate you, I cannot proclaim the good news to you. As a pastor, my greatest privilege and authority is to bless all people around me. I said, “All people around me.” I cannot distinguish between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. That’s not allowed, but I may bless everyone around me. That is the best reason God sent me here. I may be the channel of the blessings, which means I may share with you God’s grace and Jesus’ love, which I have already received, and am receiving currently. You are the precious people to be blessed.
Today’s scripture is about Jesus’ lessons to his disciples before he sends his disciples to the people. It begins with the Gospel of Matthew 10:1, “Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.” And 10:7-8 says, “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons.” As you see, the authority Jesus gave to his disciples was to bless the people. Even
though the people don’t welcome them, they can’t curse them. Verse 10:14 says, “If anyone will not welcome
you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave home or town.” That’s it. However, it is
not only for me, but also for all of you who would be the disciples of Jesus.
We are growing into the disciple of Jesus day by day, practicing Jesus’ teachings. Jesus’ greatest
commandment is to love God and to love others. How many times do you practice the love Jesus taught us in a
day? How often do you practice the love Jesus showed us in a week? There may be more times you hate
someone or something than the times you love them. There may be more times you curse someone or
something than the times you bless them. However, think of it in this way: What if what we bless others with
comes to us; What if we curse others with comes to us?
We always want to be welcomed, loved, and blessed. There is the Golden Rule among the teachings of
Jesus. That is in Matthew 7:12, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law
and the prophets.” If you want to be welcomed, loved, and blessed, welcome others, love them, and bless many
as you can.
Today’s scripture is short, but it is the crucial conclusion of Jesus’ lesson toward his disciples: “Whoever
welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a
prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in
the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold
water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
This passage is called the second golden rule. We are the disciples of Jesus to welcome others, love others, and
bring the good news to them. On the other hand, we are also people to be welcomed, loved, and blessed by
other disciples. We love others in the name of a disciple of Jesus, and we are beloved by others. We may serve
others who are thirsty with a cup of water. We may also face a situation where we are in need of a cup of water.
We may be the first, but no one knows if we will become the last later or sooner. Please become the channel of
blessings, not a channel of the curse. Love others as you want to be loved; bless many people as you can; if the
blessing is not proper to them, the blessing may come to you! God bless you! Thanks be to God! Amen!