11.5.12 "I Don't Have to Play the Game"

Welcome to today’s blog.  I am so glad you are here to consider an amazing section of scripture! Luke 18 “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I am always humbled by this story!  I have a problem with comparing myself to other people.  If I am really honest sometimes I do it to make me feel better about myself – it almost always backfires.  For everyone I can compare myself to so I feel “better” about myself there are ten people I can compare myself to where I feel “worse” – like a failure. Its a vicious game isn't it!

So there is a very special and real invitation to me in this message from Jesus – I am invited out of the comparison game.  I don’t have to play it at all!  This story invites me to live in a whole new world – a world of grace.  I am who I am by the grace of God!  I have what I have because of the grace of God!  On my own I must reach the same conclusion as the tax collector, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

Jesus was telling this story to people who were “confident of their own righteousness and looking down on everyone else…”   People like me! I realize we are all different.  Some of us have made wiser decisions in our lives than others of us.  Some of us have had different opportunities than others of us.  Some of us have to deal with very, very challenging circumstances than others of us – some of those we caused ourselves some were caused by others.  Jesus warns that if we start the comparison game were are in for a crushing humbling.  However, Jesus promises to those who “humble themselves” that God will lift them up – they will be exalted.

I truly want to live this day with God in charge of  my life.  It is such a better life.  I do not want to spend my day “justifying myself”, “cutting others down to lift my own ego”, “exalting myself”… there is no hope and joy in a day lived like that.  I truly want to accept Christ’s invitation to live by grace – truly live with God in charge – to live knowing I am radically dependent on God for all that I am and all that I have.  This will be a much more alive day, free day and a day where I will be much more available to love other people to “be a neighbor” to everyone around me.  I don't have to judge others I get to love them - like the Good Samaritan did.  I get to see others as people who are my “neighbors” rather than people I use to make me feel better about myself!

This is going to be a great day – lived by the grace of God!  I don’t have to play the comparison game today – I am free!

Enjoy this amazing day with me! delton