Early in my ministry, I went to an area pastor’s breakfast at a local restaurant. I walked inside and sat down at a table full of people I did not know. Someone stood up and blessed the food, and then we were released to eat and talk among ourselves. Not knowing anyone else, I took a deep breath, turned to the person next me and introduced myself. I don’t remember his name, but he was a young white male. I remember that he was a student pastor in the area, attending a seminary with a very different theology than the one I attended. Based on his introduction and the seminary he named, I felt I understood everything about him that I needed to know. I had this sudden dread that I was going to spend my breakfast defending my call to pastoral ministry – surely he was going to tell me that women do not belong in the pulpit, that I should be taking a preachers’ wives class, not preaching.
Imagine my surprise when this guy said that he was transferring to another seminary because he found himself in such strong disagreement with the theology of the seminary he was currently attending. I thought I had everything about him figured out from just one sentence, but it turns out that this guy was nothing like I expected. We went on to have a great conversation over breakfast. I never saw the guy again, but I doubt I will ever forget that eye opening conversation.
When Jesus began his ministry, he did a lot of eye opening (sometimes figuratively and literally!) for the people around him. Based on what the religious leaders had taught them, the people thought that they understood the scriptures. Yet here came this man who proclaimed that the kingdom of Heaven had drawn near, and he began teaching them a new thing. In Matthew 5:1-12, Jesus shared a new way of looking at God’s world. Suddenly everything was turned upside-down and came into a new focus. They could see the earthly world with Godly eyes.
In this season when we REFOCUS on our own lives, let us see how we can grow as disciples and live together in the community to which Jesus calls us. I’ll see you tomorrow!