Sermon: The Inheritance
I want to tell you a story about a man who inherited his father’s crazy but brilliant invention. It was one of those things that is just too complicated to describe. But suffice it to say its purpose was to change the way we live forever.
This inheritance came to a great surprise to the son because the father had not passed on; he simply gave his son the responsibility to bring this crazy thing to life. It was up to him to manage it so that one day he could pass it on to his children.
Before the father handed over the keys to the factory, so to speak, he walked with the son around the place, and showed him the inventory. He laid out the plans and gave him all the tools he needed to make the thing work.
Then, with a quiet pause, he spoke clearly and plainly about a vision he had in mind. It was a good vision; a really good vision, with all the right pieces to be truly revolutionary.
With his father’s blessing, the son rolled up his sleeves and got to work. The first thing he did was to give the inheritance a name, a purpose, a reason for existing. It had to be something that would last throughout the ages.
After that, he took all the pieces, big and small, even the little tiny microscopic ones, and began to organize and categorize them by size, shape, and usefulness.
It didn’t take the son long to discover that he was in way over his head. There was just too much to do. By his own calculations it would take years, if not decades, to organize all the pieces his father had left him. Let alone, name them all.
Exhausted from another hard day at work, the son called his father for help. The father listened to his plea and responded accordingly. The following morning, opportunity would knock. The father had sent a partner to help his son. From that day forward, the world would ever be the same again.
As the inheritance evolved, so did their family. Soon the responsibility was handed over to the next generation of sons and daughters. Like their parents before them, they too would grow and expand the inheritance, only to turn it over to their children and grandchildren.
With each new generation, the inheritance grew and grew and grew. And you might think this was a good thing, but it wasn’t. You see, the bigger the families got, the less connected they became with each other. Pretty soon, they were less willing to work together, less willing to share their ideas and inventory. Competition between cousins and siblings grew fierce. The more they sought to streamline the inheritance, the more they fought over whose way was better.
It didn’t take long for the father’s original vision to be nothing more than a fading memory.
Then one day a child was born; a special child. He was a great distant grandson of the Father. Because the family had become so dysfunctional, his birth was barely noticeable. But as he grew older, many would begin to see how much he was like the one they had only learned about in school.
Yes, he was different all right; for he seemed to understand the original intent and purpose of the inheritance. Like the prophets and visionaries of their ancestors, he realized its power and potential. And often used it to do many good things.
It was like the Inheritance was his purpose,
his reason for being.
It was all he talked about with brothers and sisters, his cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. At the dinner table, on the fishing boats, in the fields and in the markets and the synagogues, he’d shared the good news with anyone who would listen.
Many thought he was a great threat to the inheritance. But others believed he was the great leader who would save it. Those who were listening began to grow in numbers. The father’s vision began to shine again. Soon, strangers and neighbors would gather around him. They wanted to be a part of the inheritance too.
And so the great, distant grandson did something very radical. Something so outrageous it would cause a riff between the families of historic proportions.
What did he do you might ask? He took the inheritance public. He gave it an IPO; offering equity for anyone who wanted it. The market reacted wildly. Stock in the inheritance began to surge. The people couldn’t get enough of it, even though there was plenty for everyone. For this, the world would be forever changed.
But he had to contend with the board members, elders in the family, who felt like they were losing their controlling stake. While they had the power to remove him, which they eventually did, they quickly realized they could not undo what he had done, at least not without paying the price.
Too many people had seen the light. Too many people were vested in its future. The inheritance was too big to be controlled by one family. Instead it moved freely throughout all humanity. The father’s vision had fully come to life.
Today, you and I are all part owners of this crazy but brilliant invention called life. Now it’s up to us to keep it going. We’ve been entrusted to move it forward, to nurture and grow it and share it freely with everyone.
Thanks to the love of the Father we have inherited life. And through the Son, we became heirs of eternal life. Through our inheritance, we’ve taken on the Body of Christ, the universal church.
As the body we are called together in unity and peace, to gather in faith, fellowship, and worship. It is up to us to build up the church and to support its upkeep.
We have been given the responsibility to make sure that the generations to come have something worthy to inherit.
As the Christian Church, we have also been given this table of God’s blessing. We come to this meal to not only remember Christ’s sacrifice for us, but we also come “to touch, smell, taste, hear, and see God’s presence” in this simple bread and cup.
“When we gather around the table and eat from the same loaf and drink from the same cup, we are most vulnerable to one another... When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close. ”
Therefore no one is excluded, and all are free to participate in meeting God here with us today.
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, full of faith or filled with doubts and fears, the outstretched arms of Jesus exclude no one. Come not because you have to, but because you want to.
 Evans, Rachel Held. Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Nashville: Nelson Publishing. 2015, p. xvii.
 Nouwen, Henri. Bread for the Journey: a Daybook of Wisdom and Faith. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. p. 296.
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An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”