Friday, August 30, 2019

August 24-31

You want us to help people?

What kind of help?

And what kind of people?

I mean, it's one thing to look after our own -- to help the local widows who speak our language . . . 

But ever since Pentecost, we've been asked to help more and more of those people . . . 

You know the kind of people I'm talking about: people who don't even speak our language!

And it's not like they're grateful. No, ever since they showed up, they've been fussing about who gets what . . . 

And lately, they've even been fussing over who runs things!

Mind you, I'm not prejudiced -- in fact, some of my best friends speak Greek.

But if this goes on, then they're going to take over.

Yes, you're going to see them decide where the money goes -- and who knows? You may even see them teaching, preaching, and baptizing!

Again, I'm not saying we shouldn't help those people.

I mean, helping is one thing.

But asking us to change?

Asking us to adapt? 

Asking us to give up control?

That's just wrong!

Friday, August 23, 2019

August 17-23

God could learn something from the movies.

When God shows up in the movies, after all, He's got style. He's got grandeur. Yes, He shows up with thunder, lightning, and a crowd of obsequious angels all singing His praise.

Not like He does in the Gospels.

No, in the Gospels, God shows up as landless peasant from a small town in the backwoods . . .

Just the kind of person it is easy to ignore.

And if that's not bad enough, He goes on to say in Matthew 25 that the people who stand in for him are not rich, not famous, not beautiful, and not even pleasant to be around!

Instead, his proxies are losers, outcasts, and people who are down on their luck . . . for "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

In short, God looks a lot better in the movies than He does in real life.

So what is He up to?

And how can we make Him look better?

Monday, August 12, 2019

August 10-16

Mind you, I have nothing against them myself; in fact, some of my best friends are poor . . . 

But they can be so inconsiderate.

I mean, John the Baptist has just been killed -- and obviously, we need some time to work this through.

But do we get it?

Well, we tried . . . 

But no sooner do we slip away for a little "me time," then that crowd finds us again!

No, all those people can think about is their wants, their desires, their needs!

And yes, Jesus feeds all those people in that crowd -- all 5,000 men (plus women and children).

But to my mind, the miracle here is not that he fed them.

It's the fact that he saw all those inconsiderate people . . . 

And he looked on them with compassion

Monday, August 05, 2019

August 3-9, 2019

"Righteousness" is not a noun.

It's a verb.

It's not something you have, in other words, but something you do.

Read Isaiah 58, for instance, and it's clear that some people thought "righteousness" was an object -- a "thing" you gained through the appropriate rituals and sacrifices.

"If I have enough righteousness," they seemed to have thought, "then I'm okay; it's like money in the bank."

But in Isaiah 58, the prophet says our "righteousness" is a matter of how we treat other people.
Is this not the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou sets the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine flesh? 
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.
You can't be "righteous" on your own, in other words.

No, you need other people to do "righteousness."