Here is today's sermon, based on Matthew 9:35-10:15

Blessings to you all!

In August, 1941, Great Britain continued to get pounded by the Nazi war machine.
While the rest of Europe graveled in defeat, England desperately tried to hold on.
The potentially mightiest power in the world, the U.S., continued to stand and watch.
And so England (and maybe all the world) was feeling lost, alone and abandoned.
They rightfully wondered how much America really cared about them.

So in secret that month, President Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill in the Atlantic.
It was the first time they had seen each other, but they ended up completing an pact.
The Atlantic Charter formalized the fact that the U.S. would now actively help England.
It had a practical impact for sure, but maybe the best thing was it showed Churchill and all of England and Europe that America did really care about them.

Nothing eases the mind and heart and soul of people than to know that fact.
To know and to hear that someone in authority or who loves you, or you love,….cares.
Whether its the boss at work, a candidate running for office, or a spouse or friend,…
maybe the best thing they can ever tell you is that they care about you.

We hear Jesus will send out his apostles to ‘bring the kingdom of God near’ to people.
He also did this throughout his ministry to all kinds of people, both Jews and Gentiles.
Our Gospel today says that “When he saw the crowds he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”
But for now he tells his apostles to focus on just the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”.
Jesus later sends them to “all the nations”, but his immediate concern is closer to home.

That’s because Jesus felt the children of Israel had not been getting the truth about God
That their religious leaders misled led the people and not giving them the truth of God.
Their leaders were obsessed with imposing rules of righteousness with no compassion.
They ignored the truth that God is merciful and compassionate and truly cares for them.

Instead, the people lived in a world run by a religion that focused on towing the line.
Allowing injustices due to social status, and for hypocrisy amongst the supposedly holy.
Jesus came to bring the truth and be the truth of God, to these lost uncared for people.
People who must have wondered how much God really cared about them.

So he now sends his field agents out (that’s what the word apostles means - emissary).
He sends them out and instructs them to not only proclaim the words of God’s care,….
but to do the deeds of caring that God will provide them with the power to do.
He tells them “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons”.
Jesus wanted the people to believe, through words and deeds, the truth of God.

And then he tells them to not accept any payment for what they say or do.
He says ‘you received the grace of God’s love for free…..so share it for free’.
So no tips for a good sermon,….for curing a sickness,….for chasing out a demon.
The payment will be the satisfaction that you will be sharing God’s love that you got.

So how about you?
You ever feel like God might not care,….or,….that his care is qualified or conditional?
I sometimes do.
When things are going along fine, I guess I assume God cares cause everything is cool.
But when things go awry,….and he doesn’t fix them right away,….then I wonder.
Then I start to feel a little lost and abandoned and uncared for in my troubles.

Its not wrong to feel that way but merely human to assume someone doesn’t care.
If they don’t take action or say words to help you,…what else can you conclude?
Worse yet, you can conclude that if you’re only showed love if you follow the rules.
That’s how your superiors can be in a job or a coach of a sports team.
That’s how relationships can be if its based on mutual utility instead of friendship.
A parent can undermine any care they might have if all they do is recite rules to you.

Sure, God imposes rules but, as most rules go, they are for our own good.
But more important than the rules he gives us is the love he has for us.
Love he shows through Jesus, through all he said and did, through his promises to us.

Jesus’ message and ministry and all that he said and did,..living and dying pointed to one primary thing that he wanted us to believe and embrace and cherish.
The idea that God cares about us….. all the time.
When we’re good and when we’re bad,….when we’re happy, and when we’re sad.
When we’re on top of the world, and when the weight of the world is on our shoulders.
When we’re healthy and when we’re sick,.…when we love him, and when we don’t 

Eventually,….this message from Jesus’ emissaries and agents spread far and wide.
It ultimate was taken to the Gentiles and around the world, where it still travels today.
It’s what they call ‘Good News’ and to many in far away places it is just that - news.
But even for us who have heard it all our lives,….its good to hear again, over and over.
God cares about them and about you and me,……now and always. 

And so, hearing and knowing that, like Jesus sent out his apostles,…
so we too are sent out as his emmisaries, to share that caring attitude to others.
To show, in our words and actions, the same compassion that Jesus had.
When you show and tell folks of your compassion,….you also remind them that God cares.
(and when you do, don't take any tips either!)

Amen.