Reading Through The Bible in 2011, Part 23
What I Read Today: Luke 12.
What Stood Out About What I Read: Luke 12: 1-4, “Meanwhile, when many thousands of the crowd had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known. So then whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.'”
Random Thought About What I Read:
Hypocrisy bookends this chapter.
There’s a lot that goes on in between, but it starts with Jesus telling his disciples to be wary of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and it ends with Jesus railing on the crowd for their hypocrisy.
What gets under my skin about it is that on both sides of it I can find myself being a hypocrite. The Greek word here means “an actor playing a part.” In my job it can be easy to play that role, too. As a professional Christian who is more or less responsible for living authentically with Christ in full view of others, well, that can be pretty daunting.
Because some days we worry about how the bills are going to be paid because there’s a lot more month than there is money.
Because some days we’re not sure exactly how our children are turning out because the behavior we see concerns us.
Because some days there’s conflict with our spouse.
Because some days we don’t feel rewarded or appreciated at work.
Because some days our friends are jerks and we want to punch them in the mouth.
Because some days that test/class failure is going to cause trouble with the parents.
Because some days the political climate seems to ignore the way we think.
Because some days whatever the temptation’s temporary pleasure seems a lot better than some “jewel in our crown” we’re supposed to be getting later.
Because some days none of the things I believe seem as real as the events going on around me.
And so it goes.
But Christ seemed to be pretty consistent about those in the world (not just professional Christians) who are merely being actors on the world’s stage. His consistency was in pretty much exposing them in stern ways.
Is your concern that God doesn’t really value you? So, the natural response is to seek value from those who are powerful in the world.
Are you scared about what it would do to your reputation if you boldly told the world you followed God? So, the natural response is to pipe down and just go about your business.
Are your worried that you’re not getting your fair share of the cash day-in and day-out? So, the natural response is to fight tooth and nail to make sure you do.
Worried about where the money is going to come from? The natural response is to spend a great deal of time stressing about it and working through all sorts of plans to bring in the cash and stretch the dollars you’ve already got.
Worried about your 401K?
Focused too much about this world and the stuff going on in it?
Concerned that you won’t be understood even by those closest to you?
And see, those are the things that seem to cause me to become an actor in the world’s play.
And, not a very good one, either.
So, what do you do when it feels like you can act like a Christian a heck of a lot better than you can actually follow Christ?
Well, I think that feelings can be liars. They respond to what goes on around us. And since feelings are real, we should measure them agains what our brain knows to be true.
And that’s the flip side in this chapter. Because…
Truth of the matter is that God takes care of birds who’s Blue Book value is about $.02.
Truth of the matter is that the Holy Spirit will give you words at the appropriate time.
Truth of the matter is that it’s only money, man. Find ways to value what God values.
Truth of the matter is that God takes care of flowers and birds and he’ll take care of that.
Truth of the matter is that we love what we spend our money on…so invest in Kingdom stuff.
Truth of the matter is that we should keep the lights on for our King, who is indeed coming back.
Truth of the matter is that Jesus doesn’t make it easy…always saying things like “I came to set the earth on fire.” You can’t be concerned with who likes you if you’re following Him.
In my way of thinking, avoiding hypocrisy starts with the reality that our King is coming back. And what if we started every single day with the thought, “What if today is the day He comes for us?”
How would that affect our reality? How would that BE our reality?
The bills on the table won’t matter when we’re sitting at His table at the Wedding Feast.
The kids’ college choices won’t matter when they’re in their dwelling place He prepared for them.
The fight with the spouse over whatever it was won’t matter when we see the Bridegroom.
The reputation won’t matter because, well, all the knees will bow and tongues will confess His Lordship.
The folks we might’ve wanted to punch will be creatures in their glorified bodies that we’d be tempted to worship.
The government will be the King of Kings setting it all back in order.
The temporary pleasures won’t hold a candle to the eternal reality.
And do we really believe that this will be the reality?
Because it seems to me if we really do, then the hypocrisy we choose to display because of our fears and insecurities would fade into a beautiful oblivion…
…and if today was indeed the day He chose to come back for us…
…that changes everything about my beliefs and actions lining up.
Or at least it should.
(Tomorrow’s Reading: Luke 13 & 14)