Which one is not like the other?

“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, 

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”  Luke 7:31-35

The games we play searching for a handle on life.

Remember the game? Remember the exercise in learning how to differentiate? Which one is not like the other? But now that we are growing up we must add a second question:  Which one is not like the other and what does that mean?

We can differentiate. And there are many places in life where we must. However, the problem comes when we are infected with the temptation to control for uniformity. Like the generation viewing Jesus and John the Baptist we are frustrated by not being in control. We play the flute and you do not dance! We sing a dirge and you do not cry!

Missing the diverse work of God.

Jesus is drawing out the proclivity of his generation and ours to miss the work of God when it is different from what we expect. Could Jesus and John have been more different in the lifestyle? John lived the life of an ascetic in the desert. Jesus lived the life of one fully engaged in the lives of city sinners. John fasted. Jesus feasted. And the people were dismayed by the difference so they judged and accused: John has a demon. Jesus is a glutton.

The Beginning of Wisdom

Jesus says wisdom is demonstrated, shown, justified by her fruit… by her children. Wisdom begins with worship. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” So there it is, the source of Jesus and John’s difference is God. As we each pursue Christ we should not expect that we will all be uniform in the expression of His grace and truth through our personality, passions, patterns, professions, and prayers. Wisdom encourages us to watch with wonder and delight as The Spirit of God manifests the image of the Son in the followers of Christ and His church to the glory of God.



assuming that motives matter

It is possible to have the right behaviour and still be an absolute mess!  It seems to me that when we live without congruence between motives and behaviour we will ultimately be served a gut check that forces us to examine our motives and adjust.  One of the dangers we face in relationships is the temptation of playing god by assuming we know exactly why a person is doing what they do.  We misplay and fall into the trap of judging when we sort out the “why” of another person’s behaviours based on ourselves rather than on their self-reporting.

A culture of trust assumes the best until proven otherwise.  And a culture of distrust assumes the worst until proven otherwise.  The fellowship of Jesus has another way of sorting behaviour through the lens of Scripture and of the motivating power of the Holy Spirit.  Paul indicates that he can celebrate the brothers and sisters in Thessaloniki through the lenses of thankfulness and of “faith, hope, and love.”

“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

So assuming that motives matter… when we confess that “Jesus is Lord” behaviour is to be increasingly shaped by Jesus and by the faith, hope and love He produces in our lives.  My view of others will move up when I am first thankful–they are a gift from Jesus.  Hopeful–Jesus is working them.  Loving–I can accept them as Jesus accepted me.  Faithful–let’s stick it out together.