I always loved playing chess with my father. I liked the strategy and the thought process behind the game. But, I have to admit it I was never really good at it. I recall my father always trapping me in a few moves and just in a short time I would hear the words “Checkmate.” Then, we would just set up the board again and repeat the process. I played each time hoping that I would make a better move that would finally outsmart my father so I could finally win. Until his death, I had never won a game of chess against my father, but I was almost a victor on several occasions.
In today’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-9), Jesus sends out his followers on a mission. Like the rigid movements of chess pieces, Jesus gives his followers specific instructions on what to take and how to handle themselves as they go about their mission. He urges them to “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals, and greet no one along the way” (Luke 10:4) Jesus does this to emphasize that his mission is too important and that these missionaries need a singlemindedness focus to complete the task ahead. Theses missionaries needed to free themselves from their attachment to material possessions and greetings to people should be avoided as not to distract them from the fulfillment of their task.
Our mission every day if we to choose to accept it is to give glory to God. As followers of Jesus, we must take the time to be mindful and place God in everything we do. Jesus reminds us to keep the focus on Him. By keeping God our focal point, our tasks are easily performed so that we can get back to focusing on him. I believe that when Jesus asks us to rid of our attachment of material possessions it is a call to get rid of the distractions that take us away from his Father. The distractions of where we don’t put God first in our life. There is nothing wrong with wanting and desiring material blessings. It is wrong when we forget God in the process of obtaining those material things and in an effort to achieve our desires we do something bad or wrong. God wants us to be in our lives and when we place God first in our lives some us will just notice that what we once desired isn’t as important has that feeling of God being present in our lives. Many times I catch myself desiring something and then I pray to God and God answers me with something else and for some reason that thing I wanted so badly just dissipates. The truth is we want more of God in our lives, but some of us aren’t ready to make the winning move to actually take that step. We may feel like we are close on some days, but until we fully accept that God is all we need, we will never be say “checkmate” on our own distractions or desires.
Give me strength and give me courage to make you a priority in my life. All that I have and want is for your glory. Help me to be a humble servant to your will.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.