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March 26, 2023

The Calling for Stop, Pause, and Question!

Pastor KJ Kim

Isaiah 55: 1-8; Luke 13: 1-19

In today’s passage, the Israelites live under the rule of Babylonian empire where people value that doing two things at once is better; getting bigger, faster, and more is better, just like we do today.

Then, the Prophet Isaiah wants the Israelites to stop accommodating the Babylonian empire; stop running for the endless and vicious cycle of greed and anxiety in order for doing two things at once or getting ahead—bigger, faster, better, and more. Because big is not better; because doing two things at once is not better; because faster is not better; because more is not better, so we have to return to our roots; have to seek the Lord; have to be a Christian, not a Babylonian; have to be a believer, not a rat-raced consumer; and have to be a gospel person, not a rat-raced runner.

Yes, Isaiah’s prophecy is a wake-up call for us in this season of Lent, when we have only talked about Jesus’s talk, not walk the Jesus’s walk; when we are influenced by the force of empire; when we have wanted to accommodate instead of trust; when we have reduced ourselves into a rat-raced runner rather than becoming a forerunner of the gospel.

Today’s other passage, the gospel of Luke, Jesus offers the parable of fig tree—inviting each one of us to reflect on what kinds of fruits we are bearing within a world of “big is better, faster is better, and more is better.”

Maybe, it is important for us, as fig trees, that we make our trees bigger; we make that process faster; and we bear fruits more. More important task for all of us is to bear a different fruit that is something the commercial world cannot offer, such as the 9 fruits of the Spirit in the book of Galatians—the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Lent is not just time we are called to stop what we are doing that drives us by running a rat race— “doing two things at once is better; big is better; faster is better; and more is better.” Rather, this season is a time to pause, question, and start again in order to bear a real fruit that might help someone to taste what God’s newness may look like—“What are we doing?;” “Are we working for that which does not satisfy?;” and “Are we spending for that which is not bread?”

Big is not always better; doing two things at once is not always better; faster is not always better; and more is not always better because God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s intention is not our intention, and God’s math is not our math.

Thanks be to God.

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