Sunday morning at Tapestry I spoke out of Luke 22:47-53. In that passage three people/groups performed actions that looked one way but actually lived out the opposite.
- Judas looked like he honored Jesus with a kiss, but he actually betrayed Jesus
- Peter thought he was defending Jesus, but he actually did the opposite of what the Prince of Peace wanted.
- The leaders thought they were protecting Israel from a rebellion, but they were actually delivering Israel into the moment into darkness.
Looking or sounding pious is much easier than actually being pious. Faithfulness is the result of lots of small choices that point toward the One you have faith in. It is always easier to make grand proclamations than to actually live out the commitments that those proclamations concern.
I recently heard a on a podcast or read in an article (I can’t remember which) that every choice has pain and reward within it, and whichever comes later (the pain or reward) is usually the greater. So If I chose to abstain from donuts in the morning I face the pain of not enjoying the deliciousness that is a cream dunker, but I receive the reward of better health. That reward lasts longer than the brief pain of not tasting that little piece of deep fried heaven. Or if I chose to not cleanup after myself I receive the reward of a little rest, but the pain of a bigger mess to clean up later on. It is the old delayed gratification thing, one of the most valuable lessons any of us can learn.
I believe this fits into faithfulness:
It is easy to say something is most important to you, it is different to actually live like it is important to you. For example:
- Many people say family is most important to them …. few make the daily decisions to put their family ahead of themselves.
- Many people say they have found the love of their life … few make choices that actually put that love first.
- Many people dive into hobbies … few people put in the years necessary to actually become good at the hobby.
- Many post memes and images reflecting that they care deeply for a cause … few actually make choices that reflect that care.
- Many say they faith in Jesus shapes them … few actually let that faith shape their daily lives.
- Etc., etc., etc.
None of this means that the proclamations aren’t good, just that they aren’t really the goal. The goal should be faithfulness. Proclamations, bold gestures, symbolic activity, and specifically religious actions are good when they help us to be or become faithful. The good ones do this, when they are used properly.
I think faithfulness is partially why I like dogs better than cats. You know that cats would be all about bold proclamations that only lasted as long as the proclamation was helpful for the cat. ‘I love you when you scratch my chin. NOW STOP!!!!!!” Whereas a dog is going to be faithful. “You’re going to walk over there? Oh okay I’ll wake up and walk over there too.” Don’t get me wrong, I like our cats. I probably just don’t like your cats. Whereas I probably love your dog.
Anyhow I hope I make choices that lead to faithfulness. I know I usually want to do so.