We use the Bible, and even the name of God, to determine and promote fairness and equality. I believe this is important and valuable in considering what is worth fighting for or standing up for. But too often, we use it as an authority in order to demand things of others that they’re not willing to give. This leads us to using the Word of God as a weapon against each other rather than against the real enemy. Luke tells a story of someone attempting to use Jesus in this manner and what Jesus’ response is. Read Luke 12:13-21. A man begins asking Jesus to speak as an authority figure in a dispute over inheritance. Jesus immediately responds, not to the question, but to the underlying problem. He tells a story of planning for the future and setting aside wealth in order to live an easier life. But then the story takes an immediate left turn as God declares “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Jesus finishes with the statement that “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” This man was seeking fairness and equality. But was it on behalf of another? Was it for the sake of the Kingdom of God? Was it for the glory of God? No, it was very clearly a self-serving request. Jesus redirects the question to show that the only important thing we can do with our lives is to be rich toward God. If you’re not sure what this looks like in your life take a look at Proverbs 3:5-6 again. Trust in the Lord. Lean not on your own understanding. Submit your ways to Him. And remember the promise at the end. He will make your paths straight!
Just about every story of Jesus knocks me over. No matter how many times I read a story I end up reading it in a new way or with fresh eyes or maybe I notice something unique or just realize I had forgotten how powerful it was and I am newly amazed by the way Jesus loved people and led them to straight paths to the throne of God. The story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17 is one of these stories. Reading it in light of what’s happening right now as well as reading it right after studying Proverbs 3:5-6 for a month was very enlightening. These lepers are all totally without hope. Unable to make plans for the future. Their dreams consist purely of healing. This debilitating and ostracizing disease has dashed their dreams and hopes down to the basest of desires. Health, security, and relationships. So, when they receive word from Jesus to simply go and show themselves, all 10, in faith, begin the trek to show themselves before the Elders. As they find themselves healed and cleansed during this walk of faith they race back home! I’m imagining hearing word of a miraculous cure to COVID that is available to ALL of us and how great the rejoicing would be as our dreams and hopes for the future were renewed and we quickly go back to our normal lives. However, one leper returns to Jesus and bows at His feet in thankful worship and praise. Jesus led all 10 lepers to the straight path but only 1 of them had clarity to see the value of following Christ over returning to normal. Let partnering with Jesus and the Kingdom of God be our dream. This is a dream that doesn’t change and isn’t postponed in any circumstance!
Have you ever done something really well? Achieved something you’re really proud of? And the someone else gets the credit; and what’s worse is they TAKE the credit? Yes, it is frustrating, overwhelmingly so. How often do we do this to God? How many times, each and every day, does God do something absolutely incredible in our lives or through our lives to affect someone else and, not only do we get the credit and take the credit, but we don’t have a second thought about the fact that we don’t deserve any of the credit. We are often completely ignorant and blind to the amazing ways God works all around us. Proverbs 3:5-6 challenges us to take this seriously. We are told to trust God and lean on God’s understanding, not ours. But then we’re told to acknowledge God, in ALL our ways. So, what does it mean here to acknowledge God? It means that we accept the fact that we could no good thing without God’s intervention. It means that we open our eyes and confess what God has done and is doing. It means we admit that we can’t do this alone. It means that we declare, in all that we do, to everyone that we encounter, that God is to be praised! That He has given us so much and He is worthy of all adoration and glorification. So this week, keep this phrase at the front of your mind: “In all your ways acknowledge Him”.