Tuesday, 28 February 2017
“…for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21.4
It is not too difficult to give a little when we have much, but the widow gave all she had to live on. What a witness! I am challenged to consider how much I give or, indeed, how much I am prepared to give.
But this is not what draws my attention today. I am more captivated by Jesus’ focus. He saw the rich people give of their gifts. I wonder if this was done with ostentation, for it appears to have first captured His attention. Yet, thankfully, He did not stop there, for: he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. (v2)
This is what speaks to me now. Jesus noticed! The widow’s act might have appeared without any significance whatsoever to the ordinary onlooker. Like Jesus, the man or woman in the street might have noticed the giving of the rich, but simply not seen the widow, and certainly not understood the depth and impact of her giving. But Jesus saw. Not only did He see, He understood the truth of her offering, and He raised it to its rightful place, above the giving of the rich, whose gifts were partial.
Jesus sees every small act, and He recognises its true value. However small, if the sacrifice is great, this is what Jesus sees. I thank God for this revelation. It is so encouraging. There are times when I may be tempted not to do a certain thing, thinking it irrelevant or of no significance. Today’s reflection reminds me that every small act has meaning for God. Let me not forget.
Thank You for showing me that You notice even the smallest act of charity. Thank You for the encouragement I get from this. Let me be willing to carry out even the smallest acts in love, and in gratitude to You. Amen.
Sunday, 26 February 2017
“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets.” Luke 20.46
Jesus presents this caution to His disciples in the hearing of all the people (v45). He wanted them to know this and to be on guard against the masquerading of the human appointees to leadership in the religious system. He further touched on the activities of such people: “They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers.” He indicated their ultimate end: “They will receive the greatest condemnation.” (v47)
People down through the ages, and in every age, have suffered through the actions of such people in the church. Sadly, this activity continues in this present time. We all need to guard against the evil of self-importance, but especially so in any leadership function we may be called to or assume.
Jesus gave us the model for leadership when He washed the disciples’ feet. He makes it clear to us how we should behave: “For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13.15) This is the way of the Christian, not the posturing, commandeering, self-righteous presentation we, sadly, often see in so-called Christian life. Mahatma Gandhi is purported to have said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” (source: www.wattpad.com). I see what he means. We have yet a way to go!
There are areas where we are so unlike You. I can only look to myself. Help me, please, to become more the person You would have me be. I want to be more like You. Take from me any sense of self-importance. Imbue me with Your qualities of servanthood, in Your living name I ask. Amen.
Friday, 24 February 2017
Then he said to them, “How can they say that the Messiah is David’s son?”
In this interaction I see Jesus referring to His divinity. He explains His question by reminding us that David calls the Messiah his Lord. So, how could He then be his son?
By fully human biological means, the Messiah could not be who He is required to be. There has to be a divine origin. But the Scriptures record God’s promise of a Messiah, a Saviour, from the line of David.
And this is who Jesus is! By divine action Mary, a virgin of the lineage of David becomes the mother of Christ, the Messiah. But the father is God, and only God.
Thus are the Scriptures fulfilled, and the divinity of the Messiah assured. Indeed, in the Messiah the divine and the human meet. This is a mystery! Many likely struggle with the virgin birth. It creates no struggle for me. I hold strongly to the conviction that God can do anything, nothing is impossible to Him (Matt. 19.26).
If I can’t accept God as God, then I am simply acting out faith and belief as a charade. No! I thank God for His amazing self-revelation to me. I confess He took me by surprise. If you like, He ambushed me. I wasn’t prepared to meet Him at the time He chose. I certainly wasn’t seeking Him, I was too preoccupied with practical issues of life. But I am eternally grateful that He acted when He did. He turned my life around and drew me to Him. And life since has been a continuing journey of intimacy, of going deeper with Him. May it continue – into eternity. Praise God!
Again, I simply say: Thank You.