Readings for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Zephaniah 1:7-16
tol・er・ate – To allow the existence, occurrence or practice of something one does not necessarily like or agree with without interference.
If one thing is clear from these readings, it’s that God does not tolerate our sins. He may punish us for them or absolve us of them, but I dare say the word tolerance (a favorite of our age) is simply not in God’s vocabulary. The Day of the LORD, when Christ returns to earth, will be a day of divine interference unlike any other.
Readings like these are unsettling to the most devout Christian. But that is the purpose of God’s Law – to unsettle us, to shake us out of our complacency, our pet idolatries, and the ease with which we too often tolerate the unholiness within ourselves.
Who will be punished on the Day of the LORD? Those who have smugly convinced themselves, “The LORD will do nothing.” (Zeph 1) Those who delight in darkness (1 Thess 5). Those who resent Jesus’ authority over them and decide to squander his good gifts rather than serve him (Matt 25).
What then shall we do? Repent (again) – turn and be changed (again) – and embrace (again) the good news – God has not destined you for wrath. You are a child of the light, made to live in the light! The shadow of the Cross of Jesus is your shelter from God’s judgment. So on the Day of the LORD, you may hear the voice of Jesus welcoming you to share in your Master’s joy.