Friday of Pentecost 17 – Luke 17:1-10 

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

“Robert” stopped by the office the other day. He is a middle aged, developmentally delayed man who makes some very interesting clothing choices. He is a gentle soul who lives in a group home nearby. He was immaculately clean and well cared for. Someone loves this guy. He wanted to talk and pray a bit, so we did. He told me his mom and dad were both dead of tragic circumstances in middle age. Now his Aunt “Alice” is his payee. A Payee is someone who receives his government support and is entrusted to use it to pay for Robert’s necessary expenses. To prevent fraud, there are many hoops to jump through and much bureaucracy to contend with when one serves as a payee. It is not an easy job.

Robert also plays the guitar. He has a YouTube channel. We watched one of his long and somewhat tuneless creations. It has four likes. He was especially proud of the comment – from who else but his aunt. She liked it a lot, said she could not get the tune out of her head. I am sure that being Robert’s aunt must be a challenge some days. I would guess that Aunt Alice has other things she could be doing. He showed me a picture of her. It is the lock screen on his phone.

Jesus speaks of God’s care and concern for the little ones of His kingdom. He reserves a particular wrath for any who would cause them to sin. He also has a particular blessing for those who express his boundless and gentle love for the little ones who trust in Him. Well done, Aunt Alice. You probably won’t ever read these words or get to hear that from me personally. But God has seen, and His smile is upon you.

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