From Seth Van Liew
What if several of your atheist friends ran up to you and said they had just witnessed a miracle? What would you do? Bribe them so that they would tell a false story to everyone, right? Hopefully not, but that’s what the Pharisees did in this passage. Although Pharisees are fun to pick on, they were the children of the repentant but sinful Jews of Psalm 79 and 80, written hundreds of years before. Make no mistake, like the rest of the Jews, they were likely desperate to be saved by God. Their mistake was they wanted it on their terms. They just couldn’t believe some hick carpenter from the sticks was the messiah they had craved. I’d like to think I want salvation with no terms, but even I have them, things I can’t give up. These things are generally called “idols.” What are yours?
There is, however, a far more practical reason to rid our lives of idols. Some years back I attempted to find a quality shared by all the happiest and most well-centered people I knew. I noticed that they weren’t the richest or had the most prestigious careers, nor even had the hottest wives or girlfriends (or husbands). Nope, the one quality they all shared was being humble. How much energy do we put into that? Most people I have met, myself included, put most of their energy into two or three things: career and romantic life (and kids, if you have them). Oddly, the bible doesn’t say a lot about these things if you are single (except “stay single” and “don’t pursue money,” two things we often don’t want to hear). However, the bible says quite a bit about being humble. Weird right? Or is it? (Queue ominous music.)
It’s only when I have put aside what I think I know and pursued humility that I have found my life full of blessings. They have rarely correlated with my lifelong dreams or even my current goals. Biking to work and my cats, for instance, are hardly glorious, but have totally transformed my daily mood, far more than any accomplishment or state of life I have worked hard to attain. So next time you are considering a “small” thing like learning to cook, starting a journal, or getting a puppy, don’t dismiss it. God may be at work.
I’m a devoted single father to my three cats, and live in Waltham. Also I smoke meat over fire. If you’re into Settlers of Catan, we should talk: firstname.lastname@example.org.