Thursday, February 18
Luke 6:27-49 —Words to Live By
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 Students are not above their teacher, but all who are fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say, ‘Friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person’s eye.
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 Good people bring good things out of the good stored up in their heart, and evil people bring evil things out of the evil stored up in their heart. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for those who come to me and hear my words and put them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But those who hear my words and do not put them into practice are like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Points of Interest:
- (v.31) ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’—this is another of those teachings of Jesus that packs a bigger wallop than you think it does at first glance. It’s not just about being a nice person: turning in lost wallets to the lost and found, not hitting your little sister, etc. What Jesus is actually saying here is, ‘Treat your enemies just like you’d hope your friends would treat you.’ This seems crazy! And even if it’s not crazy, it certainly is unfair. That might very well be Jesus’ point. Jesus is calling people beyond fairness to generosity and mercy.
- (v.35) ‘Then your reward will be great’—Jesus is really into reward maximization. He’s not recommending being ‘good for goodness’ sake’—as Santa Claus would say. He’s not criticizing his listeners for trying to get the best deal they possibly can. His problem with people who only have reciprocal relationships (‘I’ll treat you well if you treat me well.’) is that the strategy will never get anywhere: if you only give what you get and get what you give, you only end up breaking even. Jesus is giving us investment advice here: if we want big profits from our relationships, we should give more than we get. It’s an investment in God’s economy, and he pays very big dividends.
- (v.37) ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged’—our treatment of others signals the treatment we will get. It’s as if we have a choice between two different systems: a system of judgment and condemnation, and a system of forgiveness and generosity. We opt into a system by our attitude toward one another. If we choose to judge others, we’ll be surrounded by judgment—from others, from God, probably even from ourselves. If we choose to treat others with generosity, we will find ourselves in an environment completely filled with generosity toward us.
- (v.45) ‘out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’—in Jesus’ analogy, our heart is a tree and our words are the fruit. We can test the state of our hearts by paying attention to our words.
Taking it home:
- For you: Try creating a judgment-free zone in your house and at your workplace today. Avoid judging your family, coworkers, and even yourself. Check in at the end of the day. How does it feel? Do you notice a difference?
- For your Six: Pray that God would reward your Six extravagantly for any acts of kindness they perform, especially when they are kind to people who do not stir up kind feelings in them.
- For our church/ILTJ: Pray for an economy of abundance to be unleashed in our church. Ask God to give us all the ability to treat others as we would want to be treated. Pray that our whole community would be changed, for the better, as a result.
- To Talk About: In today’s reading there is a lot to unpack – loving our enemies is hard, loving our friends and family is sometimes hard, following Jesus can be hard – which is why we need our foundation to be strong and firm. We can’t do this Jesus-life on our own, we need Jesus to be that foundation that keeps us strong so when “the storms of life” hit (a.k.a. hard times, challenges, troubles), we remain standing firm with and in Him. Talk about what it means to love your enemies, to not judge family and friends and to stay strong with Jesus when life is hard. This can be really difficult – and that’s ok – that’s all the more reason to keep building our foundation on Jesus.
- To Do: Grab some dominoes or building blocks or playing cards and head outside today. We are going to build two towers. Find a place where you can build up one tower on a hard concrete surface and build a second tower on some sand or loose dirt. I think you’ll find that the one built on the firm foundation will be the sturdier tower. This is a great picture of building our lives on Jesus. He is the firm foundation and the BEST option.