Daily Reading: Matthew 21: 23-32. Text: “Which of the two did the will of his father?” (v. 31a)
The parable Jesus told is familiar to any parent. You asked your children to straighten up their room or put their toys away. The “good” child says they will but somehow never gets around to doing it. Meanwhile the “strong-willed” or “defiant” child may throw a fit saying that they will not do and that you can’t make them. But later, when you check back you find that the second child actually did what you asked!
I imagine that the situation is as old as Time, or at least Jesus’ Time. It was one that his listeners would have been quite familiar with, and they may have even knowingly nodded to one another.
Jesus’ Long is simple; there are far more pseudo-followers or “fans” of Jesus than there are people who take him seriously. In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, when Scrooge told his ghostly late night visitor Jacob Marley that he always was a good man of business, an anguished Marley cried out, “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
In Advent we would do well to ask ourselves if we are willing to take Jesus seriously no matter what or only when taking him seriously fits into our plans and agendas. Are we like the son who says “Yes, Mom or Dad” but never gets around to doing it, or are we like the child who may protest, but who does it anyway. Only of the two sons is a glimpse of grace.
Lord, give me a willing and courageous heart. Let me listen to Your voice and do what You ask me to do. Amen.