"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thirsty ... Again?

      Mom didn't know I was thirsty until I fussed about it. But as soon as she learned I had a need she met it in a timely manner.
      God knew His people Israel were thirsty in the desert of Shur, and He already had a plan to give them water--before they fussed about it. Yet, by the time they reached Marah, they were ready to lynch Moses because of their dry tongues. Though God had always met their every need, they assumed He would let them die of thirst.(Exodus 15:22-27)
      What a stiff-necked people! Why couldn't they have the kind of faith we have?
      Actually, they did. Let's examine our faith-history for a moment. When did we last participate in a grousing session at work? Okay, if not that, when did we last gripe about a supervisor, or some coworker not pulling his part of the load, or our pitifully poor pay rate, or that idiot in traffic, our our spouse failing to meet--or even understand--our needs.
      When was the last time we reached Marah, and fussed about the bitter water? We love to point out the Israelites' idolatry, their lapses of faith, their legalism. And by castigating them, we inflate our own self-esteem.
      Yes, they were idolaters. But did they spend lavishly on their cars, their properties, their toys, their savings, without first tithing to God's work or contributing to others' needs?
      Yes, they had lapses of faith. But did they fall into a funky depression when contemplating their unfulfilling jobs or marriages?
      Yes, they were legalistic. But did they criticize their weaker brethren for their meticulous standards, or their more liberal brethren for having no standards? Did they joke about those who didn't share their standards? Did they mentally excommunicated a brother because he stumbled, his lifestyle, or his hairstyle?
      We might well listen anew to Jesus' oft-repeated words: But why do you look on the chip in your brother's eye, but do not consider the beam in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, allow me to take out the chip in your eye, not yourself seeing the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the chip in your brother's eye. (Luke 6:41-42 LITV)
      I didn't say that. Jesus did. And He didn't say it was optional. In fact, when he instructed his students in prayer, he said in part, ...and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 LITV)
      As usual, He said it best.

No comments: