Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 20, 2019
When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Luke 10:8
More than once I have found myself in situations where Jesus’ words from Luke 10 were ringing through my mind. From the mountains of Peru to the rural communities of South East Asia, I have had several plates of food placed before me containing animals that at home would be considered domestic companions rather than culinary delicacies. I’ll leave the details to your imagination. The point of this story, however, is fairly straightforward: participating in a meal that stretched my preferences and comfort level on multiple occasions opened a relational door that otherwise would have remained closed.
In Luke 10, Jesus isn’t telling his disciples to dig deep and find their inner Anthony Bourdain, sent out and ready to conquer whatever exotic cuisine they may encounter! He’s preparing Jewish believers, who have inherited quite a few rules around what they can and cannot eat, to prioritize relationships as they move towards the Gentiles in love. He’s telling them to learn to have eyes to see what’s right in front of them and be willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of mission and love of the other.
The only way you will be received and welcomed into real relationship is to patiently meet people on their terms. Likely, if you are doing it right, this will make you uncomfortable! It will stretch you in ways you likely don’t want to be stretched. And in our day and age, ritual food restrictions are probably not the primary way you’ll encounter this tension.
What are the equivalents in your life of “things placed in front of you” that you might struggle to accept? How do you respond when you encounter someone who holds to a different belief system, different parenting values, or different positions on hot button social and political issues? Do you instantly move away from them? Strike a confrontational tone? Find yourself fearful and anxious?
Here’s a thought worth considering: what would have happened if the early disciples had simply circled the wagons and stuck together in the safety of their like-mindedness, never moving towards “the other” in love and compassion? What will happen if the Church in the world today does the same? Jesus doesn’t invite you into a life of comfort but into an encounter of his love. Be willing to embody that love in any and every situation, always asking yourself the fundamental question, “What does love demand of me in this moment?”
Father, give us the courage to enter into uncomfortable places with hearts of love and compassion for others. Amen.
Share a meal this week with a co-worker or neighbor who doesn’t share your Christian faith as small act of faithful obedience.
Love accommodates to value a relationship over personal comfort. #accommodate #wisdomhunters #Jesus
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