January 25 – Today’s Readings – Matthew 20-22 and Psalms 25
I couldn’t limit my comments to only one section of the reading today, so bear with me as I ramble a bit.
First of all, NEVER argue with Jesus about His Book! Wow did those religious guys ever get in trouble! What strikes me in all of this is that these fellows were trying to manipulate Scripture in order to justify themselves or to make The Word “fit” their particular desires. The tragedy is that we still see people doing the same today. They justify all kinds of sin and compromise in their lives by twisting the Word ever so slightly. It’s a funny thing – the Serpent has been doing this since the beginning of history in the garden of Eden – “Did God really say?” [Genesis 3:1] It’s little wonder that Jesus had some harsh words for these fellows. The only way to read the Bible effectively is to allow God to speak to you – to consent to the Word shaping your life. If we begin to hear only the things we want to hear then we become exactly like those religious hypocrites of old.
Jesus has an incredible way of making things both very simple and very difficult at the same time. “Love the Lord” and “Love your neighbor” – what a great way to sum up the commandments of God! Yet – this teaching demands that we place our very lives into the hands of Jesus – that we lay down our own plans – that we take up our cross and follow Him. It demands our all. Only when we are surrendered do we receive the grace to live this way. Only a true child of God has this capacity – and even then – we find ourselves falling short constantly.
The Lord’s teachings are so often completely contrary to the Devil’s ways – “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”. Jesus delights in touching the most vulnerable areas of our hearts when He challenges us this way. It’s only when we die to ourselves that He can really become “Lord” in our lives. Imagine a wealthy man telling his servant; -“Boy, sit in the lawn chair by the pool and sun tan while I bring you a refreshing fruit juice to drink.” We know it’s not going to happen – yet this is exactly what the Lord has done in our lives. We are “unprofitable servants”, but the Lord has put a towel around His waist and has washed our feet.
I can’t finish without mentioning the 2 brothers who were both asked to work for Dad. The first, said “no”, then later repented and went – the second said, “yes sir” but then didn’t go. I was discussing this with one of my daughters and we concluded that it really is our lifestyle that counts more than our words. Wouldn’t it be nice if our words and our lifestyles were both lined up and in obedience to Jesus?
1. Take a moment to check out the “hypocrite factor” in your own life.
2. In your own words, describe how you can “love your neighbour as yourself”.
3. Ask the Lord for creative ways to be “a servant of all”.
4. What has the Father asked you to do, but you still haven’t done it?