Sufficient Success?!

Gate Pa – Year B  10th Sunday of Ordinary Time,


Psalm                                     Psalm 138

First Reading:                         1 Samuel 8:4-11,16-20

Second Reading:                     2 Cor 4:13-5:1             

Gospel:                                   Mark 3:20-35                          

What I want to say:

I want to look at what we think sufficient success on earth is and compare that to what it might have looked like for Jesus. In his story it meant being accused of being possessed by the evil one, described as out of his mind by his family, people leaving him because if got too hard, and then crucifixion. So what is sufficient success on earth for us?

What I want to happen:

People to talk about what is sufficient success on earth for us is?

The Sermon

       1.      Introduction:

colleague posted on Facebook last week

using prayer from TSSF daily obedience

“"give your laborers . . . sufficient success on earth."

asked if people had any idea what constitutes sufficient success on earth?”

number of really interesting answers – surprising answers

wondered what we think success might be

-          talk neighbour moment

    -> plenary

       2.      Successful Church

what is success for a church?

-          survival?

-          growth?

-          Sunday school and youth ministry?

-          many people who replied to post talked about success as having enough money to get by

->  is it the same for church?

while ago there was a posting on Facebook a story about church planter/pastor in USA

how church quickly grew

preached gospel relevant and that connected with people’s needs and desires

began to question his understanding of success when compared with gospels

what might that look like?

       3.      Mark

so what does success look like in todays gospel reading?

-          people are healed

-          demons are cast out

-          crowds come to hear Jesus

       -> often stop there – feels good

but wait there is more

people healed restored to their families and communities

relationships are changed

economics of those communities are changed

healing is offered free

and to anyone

at any time -  even on Sabbath

he announced that the centre for the forgiveness of sin had moved from the temple to him

he declared the Kingdom of God had come among them

both of which were seen as direct threat to the temple leadership

all that had political and military ramifications

both Pharisees and Herodian’s were deeply unhappy

lots of people were not happy.

success was people being healed

people restored to family and community

outcasts were recognised – honoured and blessed

God’s radical reign of love being established

success was the response of groups like the religious leadership

-          accusing his of being possessed by evil one

-          publically shame him into silence

family thought he was out of his mind and came to take him in hand

-          prevent further shame being piled on the family

eventually his success would lead to many of his followers leaving him when it all got too hard, or his teaching got too hard

it would lead to his betrayal

his death

success was always about death

Jesus said – success is when we take up our cross and follow him.

       4.      Back to Church

so back to the church I was talking about

he started preaching more in line with story we heard today

about Jesus being among the poorest

honouring and blessing the outcast

about living God’s radical love as Jesus lived that love

a love for all people

-          not just the deserving

-          not just the people like us

and the people left in their droves

and now?

and now he says he has a successful church



people are living out God’s love

taking a lot of flack for it

       5.      Planning Day

What is a successful church for us?

in what ways are we successful?

talk to neighbour