This sermon is part of the sermon series "Change of Heart". See series.
Have you ever used an image to help motivate you? To help you clarify what and who you
want to become? An image can be an object or can come from a song, poem, or picture. A well placed, often considered image can nurture within us something about ourselves that we want to cultivate. I know a mother who ripped a picture out of a magazine and placed it in her work space. It was a picture of a mom and a daughter talking together with affection and warmth. She put it there to remind her of the kind of mom she wants to become for her daughter. My father-in-law is a pastor, and above his desk are hung two images: John Calvin and Martin Luther—two men that have shaped his view of faith and his understanding of what it means to be apastor. There they sit, beckoning him forward. I’ve been to a chemist’s lab at Harvard, and the research group had a picture of Einstein hanging up, calling them forward in their intellectual pursuit. Do you have an image like this hanging somewhere around you?
The thing about images like these is that none of them tell us what to do. None of them provide a roadmap for success. They don’t prescribe the steps we should take. What they do is remind us of who we want to become. We know the person we want to be resides somewhere deep within us. Those images reach in and summon that person to life.
I want to suggest that what Jesus is doing here with these eight lines of poetic prose, the Beatitudes, is painting an image for us. It’s a word picture that we can carry around with us, think about, put in a prominent place. It’s an image that paints a picture of what our life can be like.
It’s not an image that reminds us of some external accomplishment or tangible ...
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