Saturday, November 19, 2016


Jesus replays a scenario in the 18th chapter of Luke that is more than bold; it is clearly about us.  Two men went to the temple to pray.  One noted in front of God how much better he was than that other praying colleague.  Across the room that other praying fellow was fully aware of his lower-case stature.  God was not vague as to which one was acceptable and which one was not.

The one who elevated his personal spirituality by judging the other was not justified in Father's eyes.

In general we like this story that Jesus tells.  The reason is fundamental; we prefer to be the person right with God.  Yet, there is a consistent flaw in all of society and especially within the church.  We have such brazen tendency to believe that we are better than others (not all others because we do play the humble card; but certainly we have a few in mind who are bigger failures...we assume).  It's an easy stride.

Champion our strengths, demean others' weaknesses, and whoa!, we've got a winner...and it's usually assumed (of course) to be self.

Jesus and his disciples seemed to be efficient at living as lower-rung believers.  They truly believed that others were better than themselves.  The Cross that Jesus carried and the ones we are to carry offer an exact message; we are the ones worth executing as we value the lives of others more than ourselves.

Personal arrogance is epidemic.  I know.  I am.  Wishing to hide it, I still try to come out looking good in front of others at every level I possibly can.  My big concern in most scenarios is myself.  I don't like finishing middle; let along last.  But we are just like the lowest of sinners; not in pretense, but in reality.  No violator of God's commands reaches deeper in failure than the me/us group.

When we admit this fact, a new life explodes onto the scene.  We immediately note a sympathy to others (sinners) as well as a new-found gratitude to be in the called-of-God mix which, in turn, causes absolute joy.  We are in!  Not because we earned it; but because His grace allowed it...just as it does for all others sinners...just like us.

If you want to transform to a heart of thankfulness, be aware that you are exactly like the rawest of sinners and yet saved by the blood of the one who took on our sins upon the cross.  This revelation causes good heart-health.  If you are ever thankful that you are not like others, stop it.  If we could save ourselves by our own good deeds, there would have been no need for Jesus to die upon the Cross.

No comments: