5th Mar - Courage to Change


Luke 5:27-39 (Morning Prayer)

Matthew made a decision to leave everything to follow Jesus. It seemed like a sensible decision to invite his colleagues for a farewell party so that they could meet his new boss, Jesus. Like a scene from today's Alpha Course, where believers dine with non-believers - there were many good reasons for this dinner party.

As expected, the Pharisees and scribes complained, "Why is Jesus eating with them?” (Luke 5:30)

Jesus' reply was simple: It is people like these who need His help. (Luke 5:31)

Periodically, those of us who have been Christians a long time need to do a reality check. What are my attitudes towards unbelievers? Why am I judging others by the way they talk, dress or whether they smoke or not? Am I, like Jesus, a friend to them or do I, unlike Jesus, stay at a distance?

We thought Jesus’ cryptic reply would satisfy them. They now turn their attention on his disciples. Why are they eating and drinking so much instead of fasting? (Luke 5:33)

Jesus replied that there is a time for everything (Luke 5:34,35). Then he moved on to use wineskins and wine to address what was behind their line of questioning.

The new cannot be used to patch up the old. Jesus' ministry and teaching will be radical. It cannot be an add-on.

Those who have drunk old quality wine will not accept the new. Jesus understood that those schooled in the law would not accept Him.

There is some food for thought for us from a passage about food and drink. Change is truly difficult, even for some of the most sincere Christians that I have met. Even if the new is bearing fruit and showing every sign that it is of God, we have a very strange human way of resistance, even if our reactions are biblically illogical.

I have no simple answer to this human condition. But may it help us to be more self-aware that if we really want to see God do new things for a new generation, we have to really search our own hearts and ask if change within us is even possible.

I end with this famous stanza from the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebur:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

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