Day Three Hundred One, Luke 11-13
We've seen previously where Jesus had been faced with opposition from the Pharisees for His life and teaching, and in today's passage from Luke, there is quite a bit of warning against the hypocrisy that these people so embody. Jesus teaches harshly against the fact that their actions do not match up with the heart of the Law that they claim to follow so strictly. Jesus also uses a couple of parables to teach of the importance of repentance and of living a life so as to be ready for His return. But there are a couple of passages in today's reading that stood out to me, and I wanted to share them here.
The first one talks of the importance of fearing God above all. Jesus says, "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who can kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." I love the reminder that in the same way God has not forgotten about the sparrows, so He also has not forgotten about me. It's easy to think that...I'm just one little person in the midst of a GINORMOUS universe that God has created and rules over. It would be easy to imagine that He could somehow overlook me...except that He WON'T! He's omniscient and omnipresent. I love being reminded that I'm worth a lot to Him. As one of my favorite preachers once said, "Shall we be saved? Are you kidding, we're more saved than we need to be! Because He paid more for us than we're worth."
The other passage that I wanted to share is one that encourages us to trust in God's providence. Following Luke's rendition of Jesus' teaching about not worrying (see Matt. 6, blogged about on day 299), are these words from the Master: "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." A few years ago, a friend of mine wrote about this passage and Jesus' commandment to "sell your possessions and give to the poor." He shared a little of his journey, a little of his struggle with this command, and finally a little of the blessing he received when he decided to obey it. It inspired me to do the same. And it is a blessing to be able to sell some of the things that I learned that I didn't really need...and to also go without a couple of comforts that I'm also learning that I don't really need...in order to fund some giving to some organizations that I know are about His business. They want what He wants, and they're able to use whatever small amount I can share with them in order to make it happen.
Except I guess I'm a little slow at getting with things, because although this friend of mine shared his story probably three years ago, I'm just now making it happen in my life over this past year. But this passage has been one that's haunted me, in a good way, for the past three years. And I hope it continues to in the future.