Sermon – January 24, 2021 – Stewardship 3

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David R. Clark  ~  Mark 12:41-44  ~  January 24, 2021  ~  Stewardship 3


41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”


Dear fellow stewards of the grace of God,

You would think Jesus had enough to do! He had to clear moneychangers out of the temple. He had to give people a final chance to hear God’s Word directly from his lips. He had to prepare his disciples for what was about to happen and institute the Lord’s Supper. Gethsemane to Golgotha was before him. But the Bible tells us: Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. You would think that was enough for one week.

Perhaps you feel that way about stewardship sermons. With all the troubles in this world, doesn’t Jesus have enough to do? Does he really need to be looking at my offering? Well, that’s exactly what he is doing. We can all take comfort that the Lord who watches over you neither slumbers nor sleeps. But that’s not all he watches. If he watched their offerings, he must be watching mine. SHOULD JESUS BE WATCHING MY OFFERING?


If we were Jesus’ personal advisors, we would say, “Absolutely not. Don’t do that!” Because, Jesus, if you sit there watching people give their offerings, then you’re going to give the impression that you’re actually interested in what people give to you!

Well, what did Jesus see? Many rich people threw in large amounts. This doesn’t seem all that surprising. We sort of expect wealthy families to be big givers. Jesus said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). But it turns out that Jesus was not only watching the amount of their gifts, but he was also staring right through their motivation for giving them.

Then Jesus saw another person. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Jesus was watching the widow’s offering, too! She was poor and there was no such thing as stimulus payouts. She offered two tiny copper coins.

What should surprise us is what Jesus said about her: Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. This widow that no one else took notice of was the one our Lord really noticed! She had given more than all the others. Jesus could see what the disciples couldn’t see: 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

The widow was different. She didn’t give some frosting off the cake, because she didn’t have any cake. She gave her bread money, her milk money. She gave everything—all she had to live on.” The amount was tiny, but her self-sacrifice was total. From an outsider’s perspective she gave until she had nothing left. That’s not the way she looked at it. She had God’s promises and God’s gift of faith to trust them. She gave beyond her ability because she trusted her Lord’s ability to care for her.


That is the greatest “take home” we have today. We may have this suspicion that giving primarily has to do with the wallet when what Jesus is really watching is the attitude of our hearts and the actions that follow. Simply put: Do we trust God or don’t we? That’s a “yes or no” question. So when was the last time you gave as if you really trusted in God and staked your future on his promises?

When you send thousands of dollars to the Social Security Administration or Fidelity or Vanguard or Charles Schwab, you do so because you trust what they will do with the investment. But there is no guarantee. Yet the Lord promises: You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:11).

No one would say it takes a great act of faith to pay an electric bill or your cell phone bill or your cable TV bill. So why do people of faith? Two-thirds of our congregation have total offerings that are less than a yearly electric or cell phone or cable TV bill?

The answer is painful but clear: because the Lord isn’t first in our hearts. We don’t give sacrificial gifts because we don’t believe that God will truly care for us.

St. Mark doesn’t tell us how the widow’s story ends. But do you really think that Jesus let the widow starve? Do you think Jesus was ignorant of what the widow needed? The widow gave her all trusting in the God who gave his Son for her.


That same God didn’t offer two copper coins for your salvation. He offered his Son’s life and his death for you.

And to be clear: Jesus knows all about widows and what they need. Three days after watching the widow give her gift at the temple, he looked down from the cross upon another widow—his mother. Even with his hands nailed to the cross, he opened his hands and took care of her future needs. And to this day, he opens his crucified hands and fills our desires with good things.

Jesus commended the widow for her gift. He also knows what it means to be forsaken by someone—as he was by his Father for our greed, for our doubting his care, for our disregard of God’s Words about worldly wealth. Jesus’ hands were pierced with spikes so that our hands could be completely cleansed of their death grip on the copper coins of this world.

And in him, both we and the widow have the forgiveness we crave and the motivation we desperately need to open our hands and give in a way that glorifies God and cares for our neighbor.

Jesus is still watching his people’s offerings. What will he see? A tip? God forbid! Or deep-seated trust? God give it! Your Lord is faithful; he will do it! Amen.

Sermon – January 17, 2021 – Stewardship 2

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Pastor Mark R Jacobson  ~  10-for-10 Stewardship Emphasis

Stewardship 2 Sermon  ~  January 14, 2021  ~  Matthew 25:14-23


14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ 21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ 23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’



The day was September 22, the year, 1776. He had been discovered and arrested as a spy, and he was due to be hanged on a British gallows. That was when Captain Nathan Hale rather famously stated, “I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Is it possible that you would have such a feeling and make a similar statement as a believer in Jesus? — It’s too bad that I have only this one life that I can live for God!

This Gospel story of the three servants is meant for us as much as anybody. Jesus told this story in anticipation of his own “journey” – the journey that would lead to his death on the cross and continue with his ascension to the right hand of God. The culmination of his journey will be on Judgment Day when Jesus comes again to establish, once and for all, the kingdom of heaven that will have no end.

The story Jesus told obviously turns on the big difference between the two faithful servants and the one unfaithful servant. What was it that made such a difference in how they acted? It’s not really even suggested that the wicked servant was put off because the other two servants received more from their master. All three of them got a lot. Conservative estimates would say that the value of the single bag of gold was 15 years of wages. If you make about $65,000 a year, that’s around a million dollars. And look what it says about those bags of gold. The master entrusted them to his servants. We’re not talking about self-made millionaires. This is not a tale about the one who starts with nothing, works hard and earns everything he gets. Wealth unimaginable has simply been given to them. It’s not their wealth. It’s their master’s wealth.

If we’re going to let the Word of God have its way with us, we have to do some accounting—what gifts has God given to you? The Bible says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). Your house is God’s. Your phone is God’s. Your car is God’s. Your kids are God’s. Your abilities are God’s. Your financial assets are God’s. If you can be the least bit kind and helpful to others, that gift came to you from God. If you can be compassionate when people are hurting, that gift came to you from God. The God who’s given you all you have wants to know—are you using it, every bit of it, to honor him? This parable applies to our whole Christian Life. It also applies to 100% of our earthly possessions. The Bible says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth (Proverbs 3:9). Does your wealth honor the Lord? Do you know what percentage of your weekly or monthly income is dedicated for the Lord? Will you work through the financial materials mailed to you so you know? Will you participate in this 10-for-10 enhanced giving campaign starting January 31st? The campaign is 10 weeks long. The high goal is to give 10 percent of your income for 10 weeks. That’s easy math. Just move the decimal point. The lower goal is to increase your giving by 10 percent. You might need a calculator. Will you pray for this 10-for-10 campaign?

Think about the parable. What was the wicked servant’s crime? The wicked servant’s rebellion was not dealing opioids that people overdosed on, not murder, not addiction to porn or booze—you know what his rebellion was? Doing nothing—not using God’s gifts for God’s glory. His rebellion was…“Leave me alone, so I can do what I want!”

Here’s the thing about those two faithful servants. They weren’t perfect either. They were sinners, too. But their story started long before their master went on a journey and entrusted them with bags of gold. There was something that was already firmly in place, something that had been created inside them, so that when they were given that money and the master traveled abroad, the first and only thing they could think to do was to devote themselves to activities and projects that would be pleasing to him when he returned. What do you think that something was?

Our mortality is front and center in the news today. It hurts when a loved one dies. It’s tough to think about someone getting so sick they need oxygen or a ventilator. We do all we can to live and be healthy. And yet that’s the place God the Father found himself with God the Son. When it came to the matter of having someone pay for your sins, there were only two ways that it could go: either it would be you going to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, or it would be a pure and perfect substitute who would go to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth for you. Before you were born and before he created all things, God the Father had already made that choice. On Good Friday he acted on that choice. The thick, unbreakable cords of perfect and eternal love that bound the Father to the Son—God the Father sliced through those cords, severed them, and dropped his beloved Son into the torturous, darkness of God forsakenness. Even in that hell of hells, with the guilt of everyone counted against him, Jesus did not gnash his teeth in anger against God. In silent suffering he was damned, and he suffered and died for you. Your Father in heaven kept you…and cursed his Son.

That’s the something those two faithful servants had seen in their master, how deep his love for them was. That’s what they knew about him before he so generously entrusted his property to them—they knew how much he loved them. That’s what drove them to devote themselves so completely to working for him while he was gone. Of all the things they could ever have had for themselves, hearing “well done” from him was better than anything.

God gives us so many gifts. He has distributed them in various kinds and in various amounts to all of us, because he knows just what you need and what I need to be able to serve him well. The only key that will ever turn over the engine and take us down the road of devoting ourselves and our bags of gold to serving him with those gifts is how much Jesus loves us. In this all-encompassing arena of making faithful use of God’s gifts, what really matters is knowing the Master. Love is what’s in his heart for you. Let it be love that is in your heart for him. There need be no regrets that you’ve been given but one life to live for your Savior because through him you have been given an eternal life to live for your Savior. Give your entire self to him, and just one small way you can do that is to have an open mind to proportionate giving. Amen.

Sermon – January 10, 2021 – Stewardship 1

Printable PDF:  1-10-2021 Stewardship 1 2021

David R. Clark  ~  Haggai 1:1-11  ~  January 10, 2021  ~  Stewardship 1


1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest: 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’ ” 3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”


My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We know 1+1=2. But there are plenty of times in life when the numbers just don’t seem to add up. “He was a good kid from a good family. How did he get hooked on drugs?” “They just celebrated their 20th anniversary. How could he just walk out of their lives like that?” “She took such good care of herself, but now breast cancer?

We like to think that life makes sense. But there are plenty of times when life just doesn’t make sense! 


Some of the Old Testament Israelites must have been thinking that. Jerusalem surrounded, their lives ruined, the Lord’s temple a smoldering heap of rubble. Weren’t they supposed to be God’s chosen people? It didn’t make a bit of sense…

70 years later when a small group returned, they must have been thinking the same thing. Jerusalem looked like a ghost town. The temple courts that would shake with the sounds of singing, now overgrown with weeds. It just doesn’t make sense….

The Israelites of Haggai’s day decided to put some sense back into life. Jerusalem’s walls were rebuilt. A new altar was installed on Temple Mount. Soon, they would lay the foundations for a brand-new temple.

But you know how people are. Rebuilding the temple was replaced by something that made more sense: their own houses. Why should they prioritize time and money building God’s house when their own houses needed work? This makes sense: Happy wife, happy life! We’ll take care of ourselves now and help with God’s house later. “Later” never came. After laying foundations 15 years went by without any progress.

That’s where Haggai proclaims a message that doesn’t seem to make a bit of sense. The Israelites were preaching a sermon about personal priorities with their paneled houses and their procrastination. Here’s the sermon: Self-first. God-second. In other words, giving to God first doesn’t make a bit of sense.

Humanly speaking, giving doesn’t make a bit a sense and the default mode of our sinful nature is to keep, store, and stockpile stuff, even hoard stuff—as we look out for #1. We call it the good life. God calls it greed. We call it being sensible. God calls it sin.

Did you notice in Haggai’s sermon how the Lord turned our excuses upside down? You plant much, and harvest little… Eat and drink, but aren’t satisfied…. Clothed, but not warm… Money is placed into a purse with holes… Much, turns out to be little… Translation: the people had less, because they gave little. God himself was preaching a sermon about his displeasure, one drought, one holey purse at a time. The God that once fed 5,000 hungry stomachs using only a boy’s lunch is the same God who can insure that a stockpile won’t be able to make ends meet.

We have come to EXPECT a full-service ministry with church, school, pre-school. But can we really expect them to fully function if the paneling of our houses remains our first priority? We have received a vibrant Christian ministry built by the sacrifice of past members. But that’s the past. What about today and tomorrow? Are we willing to prioritize the Lord’s work in order to pass them on to our children and grandchildren? We get the ministry that we are willing to give for.


Maybe there’s another consideration. Do you think the people who gave generously to the temple in Haggai’s day went home and God let them freeze to death? After Haggai’s rebuke, the Israelites give so confidently to the Lord and his work because they believed in a God who gave himself completely for us!

Here’s something that really makes no sense. The Holy One of Israel gave himself completely for the sinful ones of Glendale. That’s why it’s called grace. Jesus didn’t give 10% of himself for you. He was in it 100% for your salvation! What dedication did it take for Jesus to leave streets of heavenly gold for the manure of Bethlehem’s barn? Jesus was willing to not even having a house to call a home or a pillow to plop his head upon! Jesus shed his precious blood to redeem you!

In Christ, God graciously gives us ALL things! The one who said: “I thirst” is the one who washed you clean in baptism! The one who cries out “Why have you forsaken me” is the one who will never leave you or forsake you! The one who prays “Give us this day our daily bread” is the same one who opens his hands and satisfies your desires.

This big issue before us is this: Is our relationship with the Savior a priority or a hobby? Go home and spend a prayerful 1/2 hour with your last bank statement. Look at the numbers and see if you can spot any priorities from the way you spend money. Take the time to pray about what you find—and what you don’t find.

You worship a God who knows how to make much into next to nothing because of greed; and very little into abundance due to his grace. You worship the ultimate Giver. God gave you his first—Jesus, the Firstborn over all creation. God gave you his best—his Son, in whom he is well-pleased. Bank on his promises. And then get busy—not building a new house—but building up this current one! Amen.

Sermon – January 3, 2021 – Christmas 2

Printable PDF:  1-3-2021 Christmas 2 Sermon

Pastor Clark  ~  John 7:40-43  ~  January 3, 2021  ~  Christmas 2 Sermon

Who is Jesus?

40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

Dear friends in our Savior, Jesus,

This may sound like a public examination question, but it really isn’t meant to. Who is Jesus? Now, please note, I’m not asking, “Who is Jesus to you?” That’s really a far different question, and it leads us down all kinds of subjective dead ends. If you have listened to any of the popular Christian songs of our day or hear what the general public says about Jesus, you will recognize the problem. A time when people had a better Biblical literacy than ours was the time that Jesus walked among us. Even they struggled. So, WHO IS JESUS?

  1. He is the Christ who brings us spiritual, heavenly peace.

40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”

Jesus had gone secretly to Jerusalem to one of the three major Jewish festivals called the Feast of Tabernacles. While he was there he taught in the temple courts in such an authoritative way and with such understanding that people asked who he was.

There were all kinds of speculation. Little conversations crept up among the people of the crowd who heard what Jesus had to say. Maybe he was the prophet. That is a reference to the Old Testament: (Deuteronomy 18:18) 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. They thought maybe that’s who Jesus was.

Others speculated that he was the Messiah, and that opened up a whole new can of worms. They knew Jesus was from Nazareth but that the Messiah was supposed to come from Bethlehem. They knew enough to know this prophecy, but they didn’t know enough about Jesus to realize that he had been born in Bethlehem. So there was confusion.

Those kinds of situations happen today, too. Especially the one where people know a little bit about Jesus but not too much. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Not knowing who Jesus is leads people today to think that some sins are “not that bad.” It leads people to think that repentance is nothing more than saying you’re sorry for your sins, completely leaving out a change in actions. It leads people to treat worship services like a binge worthy Netflix show…I’ll fast forward to the parts I like the most.

Do you know who Jesus is? Jesus is the Prophet who Moses said would come. He is the Messiah to which prophecies from the Bible and eyewitnesses like his mother, his stepfather, the angels, and the shepherds all testify. As the Christ, Jesus came to be the Savior from sins, the least of which is damnable, even if it is the sin of ignorance. He came to remove the guilt from our lives instead of letting it be the motivation in our lives. Jesus is the Christ who brings spiritual, heavenly peace.

  1. He is the Christ who causes earthly division.

That’s what the Bible says, but that doesn’t mean everyone will appreciate it. Many people will want Jesus to be what they want him to be. That was true at this feast of the Tabernacles. 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

With all the murmuring going on among the crowd, they didn’t agree. They didn’t agree with Jesus, and they didn’t agree with each other. This wasn’t the only time this happened. (John 9:16; 10:19). People couldn’t be neutral when it came to Jesus.

Just a few nights ago we gathered and sang, “Sleep in heavenly peace” from “Silent Night.” But do people even understand that? People hear those words and point to the homeless and question how we could sing such a thing. Many think Christ’s church exists to feed the hungry or pay their electric bill. The reasons they are confused is that they don’t know who Jesus is.

I know this can sound harsh because in the deep recesses of our hearts, it’s not what we would like Jesus to be. Maybe we should listen to Jesus himself:  (Matthew 10:34) 34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. He also said in Luke 12:49-53: 4 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Should this concern you and me? It should because it comes down to who Jesus is. Not everyone’s idea is correct. And that’s not popular at this time of year when we just want to enjoy our families and our celebrations.

God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world. He sent him to walk in our shoes for an entire lifetime the way he wants us all to walk. And when Jesus was done, God took out his payment for all our subjectivity and our rebellion on Jesus. He then raised him to show to all that Jesus had succeeded for you and me. All the rest of it is meaningless without this. That’s who Jesus is. Don’t be led astray by your own desires or become uncertain about him no matter what other people may say. He isn’t uncertain about you. Amen.

Sermon – December 31, 2020 – New Year’s Eve

Printable PDF:  12-31-2020 New Year’s Eve Sermon

Pastor Jacobson  ~  New Year’s Eve  ~  Dec. 31, 2020  ~  Lamentations 3:19-26

19I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 21Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.



In preparation for this New Year’s Eve service I looked at the service from last year. I laughed out loud when I read the sermon theme. It wasn’t a full-blown belly laugh, more of a light “you have to be kidding me” chuckle. The theme was:  WHAT CAN THE FAITHFUL EXPECT IN 2020? I was amused when I read the theme, and I thought you might be amused, too. The sermon talked about how the Lord watches over us and draws us closer to him, and the Lord certainly did that. It did not talk about a worldwide pandemic, wearing a mask, canceling church, and social distancing.

In a little over five hours, 2020 will be history. It’s not my intention to rehash 2020 nor is it my intention to make predictions about 2021. You can find television shows or magazine articles that will do that very thing. No, tonight as we gather with our thoughts divided on what was in 2020 and what will be in 2021, I want to pause and ponder on what God is up to at this point in our world’s history. What should we as Christians make of the problems we have been and are enduring? And what should we as Christians make of the promise God gives us in his Word, “… his compassions never fail. They are new every morning?”


  1. Reflect on Life’s Problems

There are many bad years in our world’s history. 2020 is one of them, but if we were to debate the ten worst years in the history of our world, 2020 wouldn’t come close. One year that would be in that conversation is the year 586 B.C. In the year 586 B.C. the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple was burned to the ground and the majority of the people who weren’t killed in the battle were taken as prisoners of war to Babylon. Only the poor were left in Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah was one of those people.

The author of Lamentations was probably Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah has been nicknamed the weeping prophet because his prophecies often foretold heartbreaking events. Jeremiah under divine inspiration had predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah could see the problems coming, but that foreknowledge did not make his current reality any easier. Reflecting on life’s problems Jeremiah laments, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.” Affliction is hardship. Wandering means without a home. Bitterness leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. Gall is difficult to define, but one definition speaks of an unpleasant smell. With the word “my” Jeremiah is claiming ownership of a difficult life, a life of problems. Such a life affects the soul. Jeremiah admits, “My soul is downcast within me.”

Martin Luther and Katharina Von Bora married in 1525. The story has been shared that one day when Luther was depressed, Katie put on a black dress. Luther asked her: “Are you going to a funeral?” The response she gave him was, “No, but since you act as though God is dead, I wanted to join you in mourning.” The Prophet Jeremiah and our Lutheran Reformer Martin Luther are among the great believers in the church, and yet, they too struggled with downcast souls. They were like the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus. Luke in his Gospel describes these two disciples as being downcast because Jesus had died, and they didn’t believe Jesus could be alive.

God’s not dead. Jesus lives! We know that to be true, but the hardships of life affects our souls, too. We too become downcast with troubles. It happens to the best of believers. It happens to us. Left to ourselves and to our problems in life, we would be as miserable as Jeremiah and Luther and those two disciples, but God has not left us to ourselves. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, God walks with us and talks with us. Like Martin Luther, God gives us faithful companions who remind us of God’s grace and mercy. Like the Prophet Jeremiah, God helps us call to mind his compassion and faithfulness.


  1. Reflect on God’s Promises

Jeremiah laments in Lamentations, but not in this Bible verse. He says, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Jeremiah was right to have a change of heart. His soul was downcast, but the silver-lining was “we are not consumed.” On account of their sins, Jeremiah said the surviving remnant of Israel should have experienced hell, not hurt. They should have had their lives damned, not damaged. They should have endured eternal punishment, not temporary pain. Jeremiah and the surviving believers of Israel had suffered greatly, and like them, we too go through our personal and collective share of hardships, but we are not consumed by God’s punishment for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Every day the sun comes up in the morning and every day God has compassion on us. Every day God forgives our sins. As far as the east is from the west so far God has removed our transgressions. Every day God is directing our lives so that we would be reminded of both the seriousness of our sin and our desperate need for a Savior. Every day God is directing us in a way so that we will long for his salvation from this world of sorrows.

That’s where Jeremiah takes us in the next verses, “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” After 70 years of captivity the Lord would bring the Israelites back to their homeland. Through the leadership of people like of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Lord would rebuild the city and the temple of Jerusalem. And into that city and into that temple, the Lord would come. He was the one prophet who could always practice what he preached. He was the one priest who could offer a sacrifice that would truly take away sin. He was the one king who could truly rule forever and for the benefit of his people. Jeremiah did not live long enough to see the rebuilding of Jerusalem nor did he witness Christ in action at the temple, but Jeremiah did see, and still does see, the New Jerusalem in heaven and his victorious and ascended Lord. Jeremiah calls the Lord “my portion.”

The Lord is our portion, too. He will deliver us. Sometimes we see that deliverance on earth. Other times we will see that deliverance in heaven. He will cure us from the coronavirus. One day he will take away the masks, and the social distancing won’t be necessary for people who are healthy. I thought we would see that last summer, and I thought we would see that by now, but we will see it. Wait for the Lord. Jesus will also save us from our sins. That will happen when Jesus takes us home to heaven. Wait for him. And seek him. Seek him in your prayers. Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. Seek him and his righteousness in his Word. His compassion will not fail so don’t fail him by falling into despair or by turning to sin as a way to cope. Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. His compassions are new every morning and every year for all of eternity. Amen.