Devotional Reading: John 7: 1-13. Morning Psalm -43; evening Psalm 31
Text: “While some were saying, ‘He is a good man,’ others were saying, ‘No, he is deceiving the crowd.’ Yet no one would speak openly about him…” (vss. 12b & 13)
Jesus once told his disciples, “Blessed/Happy are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me…for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.” And again, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.”
“Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.”* If you are going to take Jesus seriously you are going to love those people whom Jesus loved and you will see the brokenness of this world through His eyes. You will not try to “fix” other people but work on “fixing” yourself. You will do the work of God’s Kingdom here on earth, as best as your understanding will lead you. You will acknowledge that even your best intentions have a darker side and unintended consequences. You will be humble in heart. You will accept the fact that some people will praise you while others will condemn you. But as a Jesus follower, you will neither be encouraged by the praise nor intimidated by the condemnation. Followers of Jesus do not seek the accolades of this world. They live their lives simply and courageously. Their goal in life is not to be famous or remembered but to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”**
In this season of Lent explore your motivation for doing “good” things in this world. Also explore how dependent you are to the applause of “the crowd.”
Lord, lead me in a moral inventory. Give me a heart that loves you above all else. Purge from me the quest for fame, glory or money. Let me not have the false humility that lets me think that I am doing good and noble things when I am merely “playing to the crowd” in a more clever way. Amen.
*Senator Edward M. Kennedy quoted these words in his eulogy of Robert F. Kennedy. President John F. Kennedy spoke similar words in his address to the Irish Parliament, Dublin, Ireland on June 28, 1963. George Bernard Shaw is the original author.
**The response to the first question of the Westminster Catechism of faith.