Monday, September 24, 2012

Am I Grateful?





Scripture

And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”
(Luke 7:40 NASB)
“A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
(Luke 7:41 NASB)
“When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”
(Luke 7:42 NASB)
Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”
(Luke 7:43 NASB)
Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
(Luke 7:44 NASB)
“You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.
(Luke 7:45 NASB)
“You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.
(Luke 7:46 NASB)
“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
(Luke 7:47 NASB)
Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”
(Luke 7:48 NASB)
Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
(Luke 7:49 NASB)
And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
(Luke 7:50 NASB)

 

Observation


This story asks us to examine ourselves and see whether we are truly grateful for all the Jesus has done for us. The "reputable" people of the day didn't really think that they were in need of being saved. Jesus had been out preaching, teaching and healing thousands of people. He was making a difference in so many peoples' lives and yet when he entered the home of this man, Simon, he was not even treated with the respect that you would commonly show a guest. Because of the dirt and the dust created by the heat of the climate it was customary for a guest's feet to be washed when they entered a home. This was like inviting someone who has just arrived from a long trip to your restroom so that they can use the facilities, wash up and refresh themselves. It was considered a common courtesy -- and yet, this common courtesy had not been shown to Jesus. The irony is that a woman comes and wipes Jesus' feet with her tears and hair. Of course the host was appalled at the woman's behavior but the end result was that the woman not only paid honor to Jesus, but she herself was saved from her sins.

 

Application


Many of us are privileged to have been raised in the church and we have been taught about Christianity from our very childhood. That is good, but there is also a danger in that we may become like the host who took Jesus for granted and was unappreciative of what Jesus had done for him. In my church tradition, the Church of the Nazarene, we have now existed for a little over 100 years and we have seen a huge shift in the demographics of those who attend the church. We began as a ministry to the down and out -- to those who had done much and needed forgiveness. That first generation was filled with people like the woman in this story and they were so grateful for what God had done for them that they could not keep it to themselves. They had been set free -- they were forgiven! However that first generation gave birth to the second generation -- and that generation had never experienced the sin of the first generation. They were not as grateful as that first generation. And now, we are at the third, fourth and maybe for some, the fifth generation. We have grown up and we are now a respectable people, but somehow we have forgotten what it is that Jesus has REALLY done for us. We treat him with respect -- sometimes. But probably most of the time, we're like this man who didn't even offer him a basin of water. Why? Because it's all become commonplace to us and we have not allowed ourselves to fall in love with him and realize our deep need of him. We may not have lived a life of deep sin like some, but any sin is sin -- and we are all in need of a Savior. He has given everything for us and we need to step back and realize what we have been given and not take it for granted.

I will never forget the blessed opportunity of worshiping together with our pastors in the CIS (former Soviet Union). I was overwhelmed by their passion and love for Jesus Christ but in that room, worshiping together were recovered alcoholics and drug addicts. One day Pastor Roma looked at me and said, "God has done so much for us, there is nothing we can do but praise him!" And praise him they did, and they convicted me of my attitude. It was our pastors who were recovered addicts that taught me a great lesson -- a lesson in gratitude and love toward God. Not only that, but they taught me to worship and to pray for they had a passion which was contagious. And therein lies a secret -- the passion of those with great gratitude toward Jesus is contagious. That's why we, as a people of God, must not simply worship God in respectable places with other respectable people. In that setting, we will not "get" it. We must go back to our roots, to our heritage and purposely reach out to those with great need and help bring them to Jesus. Not just because they need Jesus -- but because we need them too! Congregations must be filled with first generation believers so that those who are third and fourth generations will catch the passion that is present. So that the love of Jesus will be contagious; So that we will have an awareness and be grateful for what Jesus continues to do in our world today.

 

Prayer


Lord, I thank you and praise you today for all you have done in my life. Thank you for allowing me the joy of worshiping with those who have been set free from the bondage of addiction in this world. Amen.

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