One of my favorite sections of the New Testament is Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Found in Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus' sermon begins with the Beatitudes in which he offers his blessing onto the multitude. Jesus finishes his sermon saying that anyone who puts into practice what he taught has built there house on rock; namely a firm foundation.
Jesus' teachings are meant to be put into practice. I will be preaching a mini-series the next two Sundays entitled Practically Speaking: How to Apply Jesus' Teaching to Your Life. We will be exploring two of Jesus' most practical lessons for living but ones that, strangely enough, aren't taught in a practical manner.
Both lessons begin as injunctions; "do not worry about your life and do not judge or you too will be judged." Both of these injunctions have typically been taught as high ideals and you know what they say about high ideals. They are rarely achieved.
If these lessons are about ideals, then we have a problem. Why would Jesus say that life is about ideals we can't achieve? That doesn't seem to be Jesus' intent when we look at the ending of the Sermon on the Mount which says if we put into practice what he has taught us then we will build our lives on a strong foundation. Since all of us are anxious and critical (be honest) from time to time, where's the practical application in the lesson?
Here's a hint. Jesus uses images to direct our attention to bring about the change we need when we are worrying and when we are judgmental. Read Matthew 6: 25 through Matthew 7: 14.
If you thought I was going to share more of my thoughts on this passage, you are correct. I will be Practically Speaking to you in worship on June 12 and 19. Join me to learn more about how to practically apply Jesus' teaching to your life. See you then.
Prayer for Today
Keep us mindful of your ever present care when worry begin to consume our thoughts, O Lord, and teach us to look at others with compassion rather than judgement, so that we might seek first your kingdom and the rest of our lives will follow. Amen.