Work the Words into Your Life
by Karen Huber
“Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.” (Luke 6:46-47, The Message)
In the last few months, as teens and tweens wander downstairs blurry-eyed, not quite so ready for virtual (or in person!) school, I’ve been trying to be intentional about reading my Bible in front of and with them. So much of our lives lately have been filled with phones and screens, but we have this small, black leather-bound Message Bible, and I want them to see that in my hands more than my phone.
But on this morning, the Luke 6 morning, I got more than I bargained for. Usually these “woe to you” passages don’t really land for me. “Woe to you who are rich.” Well, I’m not that rich, Lord. “Woe to you who laugh now.” These days don’t feel particularly jolly. I much prefer the “blessed are you” bits. Poor? Check. Weepy? Check. Hungry? Well, on second thought…
Back to Luke, I was looking for confirmation, a sign things would all work out. COVID over, life back to normal, our children happy and successful. I wanted to feel this waiting wasn’t in vain, that our long-suffering obedience would produce something grand, successful even. But as I opened Luke, the Lord skipped me right over the blessed bits and brought my eyes to the “trouble ahead”.
Oh Good Lord, I thought. I’m done with trouble ahead. Yet I read on, feeling for the first time the woes meant for me. When you think you have it made, when you are self-satisfied, when suffering can no longer be ignored… these were the things I was looking for, the answer I wanted Him to give me. To be satisfied, with myself and with my lot. It was not a life of sacrifice I was hoping He’d give me. It was, after all this, a life of ease.
Luke’s narrative doesn’t stop there, of course. Jesus has so much more to say—about new life, the worth-it life, a life-giving life. And this life – back-breaking generosity, self-less loving, suffering meeting – comes at a cost.
Was I willing to pay it? Am I willing to live it? I think I was once, I said to Him then. I think I could be again, I thought. But again, Jesus: only if you stay right here with Me, he says, and work these words into my life (Luke 6:48).
I looked up from my reading as the kids walked in that morning. “Uh oh,” I said to them. “I’ve got some bad news for you… and I’ve got some good news.” We worked the words of life together. The woes, yes, and the blessings, too. A backwards, upside down, makes no sense to the world kind of life. The only one worth having.
Working it out with you,
“You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all.
God’s kingdom is there for the finding.
You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry.
Then you’re ready for the Messianic meal.
You’re blessed when the tears flow freely.
Joy comes with the morning.”
(Luke 6:17-21, The Message)
- What are you hungry for? How thirsty are you? Consider the deep longings God has given you – or even the ones you might have hidden from Him.
- Where are you finding God’s Kingdom in the ruin? What new life can He bring from it?