Three (mostly) unrelated, practical thoughts.
At Educational Resources, we teach students to make vivid mental pictures of the material they read. This concept is foundational to the way we teach reading comprehension. Some time ago, an eleventh grader and I were reading Genesis together. When we came to 4:7, I asked him, "What do you see when you read the words 'sin is crouching at the door'?"
He said, "I see a snake curled up, ready to strike."
I'd never made that connection. Very insightful, Mason.
Exegesis of Isaiah + a long shift at Olive Garden every Friday and Saturday night = colorful applications of the text.
Last night, this verse came to mind on more than one occasion:
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, putting forth darkness for light and light for darkness, putting forth bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. - Isaiah 5:20
If poor tipping is not an example of injustice, then I don't know what is. With your ink pen, you say to good service, "Evil." You give bitter wages, and you sour sweet dispositions. There will be judgment. If it's true that we will give an account of every careless word (Matthew 12:36), how much more every careless deed?
Nevertheless, this isn't the only sin perpetrated in the fast-paced environment of a Saturday night at the OG. You can read my confession at the end of this post.
At church this morning, we sang a song that brought to my mind Jesus' encouragement for us to "consider the lilies" (Matthew 6:28). The image stuck with me as the lyrics rolled on. I pictured Jesus saying these words, pointing to the blooming flower. When you think about this portion of the Sermon on the Mount, in what tone do you hear Jesus speaking? Granted, the Sermon is not monotone. But here, as he addresses the anxious, how do you picture his eyes? Squinted? Furrowed brow? When we read the Gospels, too often we hear the voice of an irritated Jesus. If you know the least bit about counseling anxious souls, you know that barking logic at them, speaking out of anger and frustration with their weakness, accomplishes nothing good. Surely Jesus, Matthew's sage, knows this, too.
Someone once said the eyes are a window to the soul. With a smile and bright eyes full of hope, love, and maybe a little amusement, Jesus says, "Consider the lilies! They do nothing but sit there, yet look at how wonderfully the Father takes care of them. Look how he feeds the birds! Aren't you worth more than birds?! How much more will he take care of you?"