open handDeciding upon the answer before you even ask the question is a rather foolish, wouldn’t you say?

Or formulating a conclusion before you do any investigation is a tad counter-productive, to say the least.

To decide Jesus is in league with Satan without honestly checking the facts is eternally damning.

Yikes.

Yet that is what many of the religious elite in Jesus’ day did.  Luke 11 gives us the story of these religious leaders’ accusations of Jesus as practicing witchcraft and also their demand of Him to provide a sign in order to prove Himself…even though the Torah (their own Scripture!) taught to test a prophet by their message (Deuteronomy 13).  If it led one to God (rather than gods), then the prophet was to be trusted.

If nothing else, Jesus’ message leads one to God.

But many of the scribes and Pharisees turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the real validation of Jesus.  They were not honestly seeking the right answer, but the answer they personally desired.

In response, Jesus compared them to the notoriously evil Ninevites in Jonah’s day and the pagan Queen of Sheba in Solomon’s day.  In this comparison, the Jewish religious elite lose.

Even the Ninevites really listened to Jonah’s preaching.  The Queen of Sheba truly investigated the stories of Solomon’s wisdom.

The Ninevites repented and fasted.  The Queen of Sheba showered gifts upon Solomon and praised his God.

Both the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba had much less go to on than Jesus’ accusers, yet they recognized truth when they heard it.  Many of the Jewish religious elite  had the Son of God Himself, yet they played blind and dumb.

They had already decided who Jesus was, what He wanted, and what that meant for them.

Me too.  I frequently decide ahead of time what God desires.  Of truth.

For example, I’m a planner.  It is good to consider the future in order to responsibly make present day decisions.  But too often, I plan a course of action or a desired result and then proceed with my plan blind and dumb, so to speak.

The Gathering is a very transient and evolving community.  Decisions need to be made today that will affect the community tomorrow.  But 6 months ago who could have foresaw the radical changes all of the pregnancies would bring about?  Who could have guessed how the community times on Sunday mornings would evolve or how the logistics for creating the garden would actually happen?

Many of my “plans” had to be radically altered, if not thrown out all together.  I’m still not sure I’ve adjusted enough.  But just like the Ninevites and the queen, once I recoginze God’s desires, I need to submit to them and act accordingly.

Here is the point: plan, but hold those plans with an open hand.  Investigate and decide, but do so honestly with an open heart.  God is not bound by what we think is best and expect (thank God for that!!).  Remain sensitive to His guidance and divine change of plans (c.f. James 4:13-17).

Otherwise we risk missing out on something God desired for us to experience. 

We miss out on growth.

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