Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rooting for the Wrong Guy—Meditations and Musings

Marcia Moston

Did you ever find yourself feeling bad for the wrong guy? Not just the hunky bank robbers in the movies that you feel sorry for when they get caught, but the ones in the Bible? Like God was being a bit harsh and maybe even unfair?

I mean who wouldn’t complain if someone who worked for only an hour, like the laborer in Matthew 20, but got paid the same as you did for working all day? Or if your sister spent the day chatting with the guests and left you to do the cooking? (Luke 10) Fine to tell me she’s made the best choice, but everybody wants to eat, don’t they? Or if the crazy homeless guy holed up down the street suddenly got healed at the expense of two thousand of your pigs. (Mark 5) It’s great that guy’s got a new life, but you’re out of business—to say nothing about the environmental disaster at the foot of the cliff.

If you’ve ever wondered what Jesus was up to, you’re in good company.
Even Peter felt Jesus got it wrong at times. One minute Peter’s acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ, and the next he’s taking Jesus aside to give him a private word of advice about telling folks He was going to be killed and rise again. (Mark 8) No doubt Jesus’ response to Peter’s well-intended logic was startling: “Get behind me, Satan!”

Yipes! Just trying to give you a heads-up that saviors don’t go around talking about getting killed.

The problem is, says Jesus, “You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.” We like to think we can figure God out, or that He thinks like we think. Each of the above examples has far more layers of meaning than a cursory reading reveals. I won’t pretend to know God’s mind in them all, but I know the parable of the laborers is more about the riches and rewards of divine grace and redemption than unfair labor practices, and Jesus’ response to good ol’ hard-working Martha has more to do with the heart issues of pride, critical complaining and self-focus than of cooking and serving. 

And the pig farmer—what’s he doing raising pigs in Jewish territory, anyway? Nevertheless, his loss was many people’s gain, as the former demoniac became a hometown testimony to the power, grace, and very present kingdom of God.

As perplexing as many of the biblical illustrations are, they don’t shift the sand under our feet of faith as much as do our own personal experiences of seemingly senseless trauma or confusion. Those times when we have no idea what God is up to and no matter how much we plead and pray, He refuses to put us on his need-to-know list. It’s one thing to strive to think as Christ thinks, it’s another to flat out not understand at all.

In those seasons when the whats and the whys of circumstance are hidden from us, the only thing we can do to set our minds on the things of God, is to drive our piton into the bedrock of Who God is, and believe that no matter how contrary the situation seems, God Is—aware, good, righteous, and loving. He is the right guy.

In the joy of the Lord on these glorious September days,


1 comment:

  1. Marcia, I love the look of your blog! But I especially love the fact that your writing remains to be as inspiring and challenging as ever. I've read the above post twice already and plan to read it again tomorrow. (The pig farmer line was classic!)


Love to hear from you