Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What do you think? Devotional Challange

"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' "'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. (Mat 21:28-32 NIV)

What do you think? What do we hear when we stop to listen. In the above story Jesus asked the ever present authorities so desperate to catch Jesus saying something wrong. Jesus did not avoid these troublemakers he engaged them, he challenged them. In this story he asks for their opinion about the two sons the one who refuses but changes and does what he is asked and the other who says he will do what is asked but never does it. Which one did what the father wanted? It is a simple question of logic a simple application of information and a simple answer.

What is your opinion of the outcasts of society? Can it be true that they too are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you? What do we do when we hear the message of John who came saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matt 3:2) Do we turn our backs and walk away or do we gather at the river? Many hear yet are they listening “Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear.” (Prov 25:12 NIV) Jesus the wise man provided the rebuke “And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” What we do with the information we receive is what sets us apart from others. It may be a simple question of logic or a simple application of information but our answers point to where our heart is. For from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matt 12:34)

What do you think?

The reason I wrote the above is because someone in my church challenged me to write a positive post for this blog. Apparently he felt that my posts are too negative. So I decided I would attempt to write in the commonly used devotional manner. Many probably think of those short articles as positive and deeply moving. Are they positive? It depends upon your perspective, was the incident in Matt 21-28 positive? No it was a rebuke it pointed out their rejection of John and need of repentance. Religion is not all positive or all negative just like most everything else it is a mixture of elements.

For the challenge above I had my son open the Bible to a page at random with the only provision being to try not to open it in the very center because that is a person’s natural tendency. I then asked my daughter to pick a section on the one of the two pages that was opened. My thinking was that I would write a devotional about whatever appeared because I had told the person at church it would be no challenge to simply write something that was a positive (devotional). I still hold to that opinion though I think it was fortuitous that the verses above were selected. The challenge is not to write something that other Christians agree with. We have tons of books like that. We have churches with so called prophets who string together multiple quotes from the Bible and simply preface it with “the Lord is saying to you”. They are held in high regard in their churches, but those of us who try and present a reasoned argument are often viewed as agents of evil, negative and certainly not devotional. A devotional whose point is that we need to have more faith, actions or compassion will not be considered negative because we all know we need more faith, actions and compassion. But if you deal with the day to day issues of our doctrines or practices… that is negative. So positive is repeating what we already know, negative is examining what we do not know.

“The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” --- Elbert Hubbard

The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.
--- Richard Cecil:

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