Read Luke Chapter 14
How useful is our religion? Will we gain our reward for our actions or be thrown out like useless salt? Do we have ears to hear how we ought to be going about the business of our Christian walk? Will we be so religious that we miss doing good in preference to being, or appearing to be right? It is possible to look like a great Christian just by attending all the church meetings, but how does that affect our everyday lives? I have witnessed the hypocrisy first hand: when a role model to the youth comes to church still smelling of alcohol from a ‘good night out’; and that assumption that someone has fallen away because they have not been seen at church; ever thought of finding out what might be wrong?
Mark 2:27 “Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” (NLT)
Do we exalt ourselves within our position or role in church or in work? If we puff ourselves up we are lining up for a fall; Eve’s pride of self sufficiency didn’t end too well and Solomon says it like this:
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
Today, we might think we are getting on well if we are able to hobnob with the best society has to offer: look how excited we get at photo opportunities and selfies with celebrities. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Don’t we just love to name drop; we love to align ourselves with well know names and invite tactically those we wish to impress to our parties: the popular kids at School or at work or at church.
Jesus says we must humble ourselves to be exalted and alludes that if we manage to make it by being included in society, that that making it, right there will be our reward.
Luke 14:13 “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Just where should our priorities lie? We should be genuine and authentic about our relationships with people, inviting the poor, needy and the ordinary, those perhaps, who cannot repay you. We must put following Jesus at the top of our agendas, over and above our families and all other things: this is the cost of following Him, this is the Cross we must bear and sometimes it isn’t easy.
Luke 9:23 “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
Not everyone who was invited will come, they imagine their other priorities to be more important, their religion to be enough. Will you come? Will you forsake the world to follow Christ, to be His disciple? Our religion should therefore be less religious and more walking the talk; more the hands and feet of Christ less the checking off of religious boxes.