What I read: Luke 6
Observations: The controversy Jesus seems to generate over the observance of the Sabbath seems, to me, to be almost insignificant, but that’s probably just a reflection of not having lived in his culture at that time. It obviously was a big deal for the Jewish people, and for the religious leaders in particular. It was enough of an issue that, at least for them, they would rather see Jesus observe the Sabbath than heal the man with the withered hand. It just seems so backwards to me – that anyone would or could put something like that in front of doing good for someone else. But then I consider how many times I might have been guilty of the same thing? And not only that, the way Jesus phrases his statement is to say that by refusing to do the good that he knows he could do, he would actually be doing harm! I don’t tend to think about it that way at all. I think about things that I didn’t do as missed opportunities or maybe even mistakes, but Jesus seems to think that to fail in doing good when it is in your power to do it is actually to do harm.
Application: When I think about that, and the very last couple sentences of the chapter I’m very convicted about my inaction at times. While there are times, as I noted yesterday, that I feel like I pursue desires outside of what I know would please God, for the most part I think I “behave” the way I’m supposed to. But if I’m honest, my inactivity when I know that I could do something good for someone is actually a bigger issue for me. I can make all kinds of excuses for it – lack of time, lack of resources, lack of ________, but in reality it probably comes down to a lack of compassion. But the one thing Jesus never seemed to lack was compassion. So my application for today is to not just hear the word today, but to become a doer of it, which leaves my life on a much more secure foundation.
Prayer: Jesus, it seems apparent to me from even today’s reading that you had both compassion and time for the people around you who were hurting. So often I can’t find either. I get myself too busy with things that matter to me and I miss the cues of people around me who need my attention or my compassion. It happens with my family, with my friends, and people in church. I just seem to have a hard time getting this right, and so often I leave things undone that should have been done. I pray that you will not only give me opportunities even this week to show your compassion, but I pray that you will give me the eyes to see the moment and the courage to act when the time comes. I want my life to be established firmly in your ways – I want to hear what you say AND do it.