Calling Dr. Phil

Gen 30:1-31:16, Matt 10:1-23, Psalm 12:1-8, Prov 3:13-15

Envy, jealousy, and deception, sounds fitting for the son of Isaac who stole the birthright and blessing.  Rachel is jealous of Leah, offers her maid servant, and Leah connives her way back into seeking Jacob’s favor.  Meanwhile, Laban continues his cheating and dishonesty for his own self-gain against the master who stays one step ahead.   I think a call in to Dr. Phil is is order.

It’s messed up and it’s our story.  This is family.  How many families out there are perfect?  Ours is the same.  Try finding any of the characters in our story that have it all together.  Even our heroes doubt, betray, stumble, and have selfish ambitions.  This is also why our story is beautiful.  It is real.  And at the center of our story is a God whose purpose of reconciliation is being worked out despite ourselves.  

And God continues this work by entering our lives in human flesh.  Jesus is out healing, feeding, including, and loving when we hear yesterday the harvest is great and the laborers are few.  There is a lot of work to do, so today Jesus begins to delegate sending out the twelve.  And sending them out, there are messages of judgment.  As we come across judgment–consider who is the recipient?  I continue to be amazed how much this judgment is addressed to the insider, the churched, the us in the continual struggle of ‘us versus them.’  And this goes back to our family systems that struggle like Jacob’s, with envy, jealousy, and strife.  And yet our call is to become less so that others can be more with a sacrificial love that is concerned about the other and our common good.

God identifies with and champions the poor.  Our Psalm today includes,“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan, I will now rise up,” says the Lord; “I will place them in the safety for which they long.”  As the twelve were sent out, this soon becomes seventy-two, and continues to grow from there.  We are called to go out and to stand on the margins.

Let’s keep on walking.


Pastor Rob

2 replies
  1. Bob Shepard
    Bob Shepard says:

    Whoa Rob, there is just too much fodder in all of these readings! Not only is Jacob’s family dysfunctional, then Jesus says his faith will turn brother against brother, and children against parents. “I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as snakes but harmless as doves.”

    Are we to do nothing to protect ourselves? To do nothing to prepare for the future?

    Yes, prayer must be a response. Can we learn to use the gifts God has given us and still know that our future is in God’s hands.

    Go out and stand at the margins? This week a woman from the Cannon Falls Food Shelf spoke to our Rotary Club. The Food Shelf of this small town provides food for about 350 familes every month. Several clients come from a subsidized housing project in town where one client said the smell of marijuana smoke is so think you can get high just walking down the hall. Do those at the margins have any accountablity for their own well being? She also told a very poignant story of a mother who cried when she was given a box of cereal for each of her three daughters. And yes there are homeless in Cannon Falls, families living in their cars – at 24 degress below zero. The need is great.

    • Pastor Rob Smith
      Pastor Rob Smith says:

      Great comments and questions. I have many thoughts, but would like to let the questions you ask ring for awhile. Others thoughts? Follow up more later.


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