Sometimes we need hard and harsh words to wake us up. Like a wife who says to her husband, “We need to see a counselor; I can’t do this anymore.” Or a doctor who says, “We need to operate right now,” or a firefighter who bangs on your door, yelling, “Leave everything; you need to evacuate immediately.” Sometimes the situation is too dire for gentle words. Jesus spoke harsh words of warning. For example, in Luke 12 he said to the crowds,
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” (Luke 12:57–59) Jesus wasn’t talking about avoiding a lawsuit with your neighbor, but rather about avoiding an eternal life-sentence in hell. The kingdom of God arrived in Jesus, but the crowds were blind. They could rightly interpret things like the weather (Luke 12:54–56), but missed the glory and splendor of the Messiah standing and speaking inches away.
His words still indict us two thousand years later. We follow fantasy-sports standings, binge-watch the latest television show, track the presidential race, line up for the latest Apple product, but we often miss the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ in his word.
And not only this, I miss rays of God’s glory placed right before my eyes every day in creation. As my four kids run around me, I’m convicted regularly that these are little people made in the image of God with souls that will last forever — and that I only have limited time to impact their lives for good. And yet I’m glued to my phone.
Saved to Save Others
In 2007, the Washington Post did an experiment where world-class violinist, Joshua Bell, played in the D.C. metro during rush hour. About a thousand people passed by, and only seven people stopped to listen. Here was a virtuoso, hidden in plain sight, playing intricate music on a 300-year-old violin worth millions of dollars. Yet the crowds lacked the eyes or ears to recognize greatness in their midst.