Psalm 1 and Matthew 5:3 – 10
Pastor Chris Tweitmann
Flourish. When you read the word, what is the first thought that pops into your mind?
Driving the entire story of the Bible, at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and in His inauguration of the Kingdom of God, is the theme of flourishing.
Flourishing is a word that can initially seem vague, perhaps suggestive of a flower garden.
What does it mean “to flourish”?
To flourish is a verb which means “to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way.”
Going a bit deeper, “to flourish” is “to thrive or prosper.”
In the history of humanity, there aren’t many ideas that can be identified as universal. As we have expanded as a species culturally and as human knowledge has grown in its specialization, there are few unifying themes that remain. Because of the massive diversity we experience in terms of the human experience, many, in fact, remain skeptical of assertions that point to any unchanging and mutually agreed upon ideas.
Flourishing, however, is one such theme. In the midst of all the diversity in human cultures and worldviews and across the broad landscape of our history as humanity, people everywhere innately desire and seek the best life they can possibly experience. Even when confronted by limitations and challenges, our imagination, our creativity, and our dreams are driven by the conviction that life and our circumstances are not meant to be static. There is, there can be, more not just beyond the horizon but also in what is happening here and now.
There’s a longing deep within each of us to flourish – for healthy growth and development. The majority of people attending conferences, indulging in books and reading articles are people who are seeking out how to thrive. Marketing gurus have long tapped into this universal yearning. The word “flourish” brings up 56 million results on Google. Amazon has page after page of books dealing with how to flourish personally, in your family, work, relationships, and so on.
This Sunday, we continue to unveil our missional narrative, the vision for the future of our community of Grace. As we’ll discover, flourishing is the centerpiece of this vision. The staff and elders of Grace are convinced the primary way we are to understand and to share the Gospel and the Kingdom is as both the invitation and the empowerment to thrive. However, we are going to learn that the question of how to “flourish and thrive” is answered very differently by scripture than it is by our culture.
To better appreciate this distinction and to begin to capture this vision, we will reflect on two scriptures. First, we will consider a simple and yet profound image from Psalm 1 that frames the biblical picture of a life that is flourishing. Then, we will dive into one of the most impactful, significant, beautiful messages ever given known as the Sermon on the Mount. Delivered by Jesus before a crowd of diverse people who were sitting in front of Him, this message develops in depth what it looks like to thrive in the Kingdom of God. These are teachings Jesus repeatedly circled back to over and over again. This was the kind of life Christ invited humanity, as a whole, into – not just a future state after we die but a present reality in which we can grow, mature, and prosper into who we were created to be.
Grace to you!