In the famous movie CASABLANCA, Claude Rains plays the local police chief in Casablanca and has a line that goes, “Round up the usual suspects.” This has to do with local crimes AND with the death of a Nazi officer!
I use the term “usual suspects” for us Christians when it comes to earthly temptations and stumbling blocks to faithful discipleship. These are the “criminals” that we carry with us inside ourselves. Both Jesus and Paul speak to these in our scriptures for July 31.
Greed. Piling up so called riches. Paul even calls this a “form of idol worship.” (!). Paul adds a few more e.g. “anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language…lying to each other.” Sounds like election year talk doesn’t it! But, I don’t want to get distracted here!
You can read these scriptures for yourself and not need a sermon, but allow me to try and see what the Spirit says to each and all this Sunday.
And I feel as though Jesus’ Parable about the Rich Fool may be just enough to make the point! Or you could watch Casablanca and get a good illustration as well. The movie speaks to evil and self-interest and finally to “doing the right thing.” Paul says doing the “right thing” is not so much battling the temptations head on with our resolve but more how close we live to Christ! How much we long to have Christ dwell within us. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” Colossians 3:3.
Something to ponder, something to receive as God’s constant work in our lives. Colossians 3:10.
Thanks be to God!