Friday, July 29, 2016

Luke 17:31-35

Luke 17:31-35
In that day, whoever will be on the housetop and the vessels in his house, do not let him come down and take them up.  And the one in the field, do not let him turn into the space behind him.  Remember the woman of Lot.  Whoever should seek to preserve his soul will destroy it.  And whoever will destroy it will bring it forth alive.  I say to you, two will be upon one bed this night, one will be received and the other will be forgotten.  Two will be grinding upon the same stone, one will be received and the other will be forgotten.”  Answering, they say to Him, “Where, Lord?”  And He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the vultures will gather.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

As Jesus continues to speak about the kingdom in vague terms, he gives us some more warnings.  First, we hear the warning to the person on the housetop to not go and gather his things.  This warning is very simple, but it is profound within us.  We should not be focused on our material possessions.  That doesn’t mean it is wrong to have things.  What it means is that we should know our priorities when we do have things.  No material possession is worth more than our pursuit of the kingdom.  If we stop our pursuit of the kingdom because we want our stuff, we are showing our character.  The pursuit of the kingdom should be our priority.  The stuff around us should help us achieve that goal, not be the goal itself.

How do you feel about the stuff around you?  When you look at your life, what is your priorities?  How do you know?  Does your life-lived-out accurately reflect the priorities that you think you have?

Second Thought:

The second sets of warnings speak about looking back.  We have the example of Lot’s wife and we have the example of the person in the field.  It is possible to make this about possessions as I did the examples in the first thought.  However, I’m not convinced that Jesus is talking to the same point.  I think Jesus is trying to teach us about orientation.  Human beings love to live in the past.  We like to think back to the glory days, when we think we felt secure.  When Lot’s wife looked back, she was doubting her decision to go forward.  When the man in the field looks back, he is afraid of leaving his past to go forward in life.  I believe what Jesus is saying is that a mindset of pursuing the kingdom is actually all about looking ahead and determining where God is at work.  When we look into the past and try to reclaim it, we are no longer looking at where God is at work; rather, we are looking back to our own moments of glory.

Do you like to live in the past?  What is warm and comforting about the past?  Do you enjoy living for the future?  What can be scary about the future?

Third Thought:

Finally, we have the scary stories about the people in bed or the people grinding upon the same stone.  One is taken, the other is left.  What is Jesus saying here?  Jesus is reminding us that the kingdom of heaven is not something that can be attained by any means other than the internal.  We won’t see the kingdom of heaven because we married a spiritual spouse or had spiritual parents.  We won’t see the kingdom of heaven because we work beside righteous people or even copy the actions of righteous people!  We will see the kingdom of heaven when we orient ourselves to God.  We will see the kingdom of heaven when we humble ourselves, cast aside our own selfish aspirations, and adopt the will and ways of God.  The kingdom of God is about who we are inside, not where we are or with whom we associate.

When you look within, what do you see?  Do you enjoying looking within and evaluating?  Why is this an important process?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 18:1-8
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