scriptures are an interesting mix. Paul tells the Galatians that for
freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the
yoke of slavery. The psalmist sings blessed be the name of the Lord
forever. And Jesus tells the crowd that this is an evil generation
seeking a sign. On first read, my reaction was that this really doesn’t
apply to me. I’ve never been a slave and I’ve never demanded a sign.
And then I thought about it some more.
Several weeks ago we had a huge rain storm that resulted in a minor flood
in the basement of our home. We brought in some fans and a wet-dry
vacuum and everything seemed fine. When I opened my closet door a few
days later, I realized some items that I had stored on the floor of the closet
had been ruined. Some shoes, some slippers, toys, an old radio.
Things I had deliberately saved to use again somewhere in the future.
Things I was certain were of great value. They sure weren’t of any
value now. I thought about how much better it would have been if I
had given these things away years ago to someone who could have used them.
In trying to save my possessions, I had, in fact, ruined them. I think
that sometimes we can, almost unknowingly, become slaves to our stuff.
The saying goes, the person who dies with the most toys wins. How sad
and untrue. There’s a song out right now called "The American Dream"
by Casting Crowns. It details a man’s life where he pursues the finer
things in life, but winds up losing what is really important. A great
line from the song says, better a shack on the rock than a castle on the
sand. Jesus can free us from that yoke of slavery.
In Luke, Jesus seems pretty harsh with his audience. He calls them
an evil generation demanding a sign. He tells them that at the preaching
of Jonah, the Ninevites repented. He tells them that there is something
greater than Jonah in front of them and infers that they refuse to see it.
The Ninevites weren’t exactly model citizens and Jesus is saying they are
better than the Israelites. Wow! Good thing I don’t ask for any
signs. Or do I? There is so much need in the world. Every
day God places opportunities to do good in front of me. However, sometimes
I think I cop out by trying to put it back in God’s lap. Lord, if you
really want me to do this, prod my conscience. Push me in that direction.
Give me a sign. I realize I can’t do everything. However, if
I take the command to love my neighbor seriously, I am obligated to at least
give these things some thought and evaluate where my time is best spent.
I believe that God will not give me more than I can handle. If I let
the business of life overwhelm me, I might miss the opportunity to simply
smile at someone. And maybe that is all they needed at that moment.
Christ challenges us to throw off the yoke of slavery that the world would
place on us, to listen to His voice and obey his commands. My prayer
today is that I would not let the opportunities God places before me slip