Priorities; December 30, 2017

Luke 2:49-50 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Jesus wasn’t being deliberately disobedient to Mary and Joseph, and He certainly wasn’t being “smart ass,” though the words alone might give that impression. What was going on was a disconnect in priorities, with Mary and Joseph unable to understand those of Jesus. Actually, believers encounter this sort of thing all the time. The world can’t understand us when we genuinely seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) It bothers them when we don’t gush over Gucci and the like, or even choose to go to church rather than to a party. That can create opportunities to share the Gospel, but as Peter said, we must do so with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15-16) Believers get called all sorts of things by people who feel bad in comparison and so try to put those believers down so they themselves will be lifted up. That’s a common phenomenon among all people, but it never really works. Putting others down actually diminishes the speaker, even if they don’t realize it. Jesus knew what He was talking about when He prayed about believers being “in the world but not of it.” (John 17:14-16) That status isn’t always comfortable, but as has been noted, God is far more interested in our character than our comfort.

I have been in the middle of just such a situation. The saddest pert of it all has been the Christians who haven’t had their minds renewed sufficiently to be able to understand what I was doing. (Romans 12:2) Far too many Christians take the world’s ways of thinking for granted, not realizing that their own thought patterns should be different. I’ve done too much of that myself, but fortunately I was at least raised in a home with a genuinely Biblical world view, and that made it much easier to lay hold of such a world view myself when I was old enough for genuinely independent thinking. God is in the process of validating my choices, for which I am deeply grateful, so at this point my concern needs to be with the believers who rejected me because of their worldly thinking, that they would not completely abandon faith. I need to be an instrument and agent of grace, allowing the holy Spirit to convict people and not trying to do it myself. I am to rest, relax, and rejoice, not just for my own sake but for the sake of all those with whom I interact, so that their eyes too may be opened to God’s provision and His priorities.

Father, thank You for Your grace. May everyone in this church accept that grace with great joy, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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