Posts Tagged ‘Arguments’

Matthew 20:24 – WHEN NOT TO PRESS SEND

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When you know that pressing send will cause a rift in the relationship © Images and Animation by Ross Cochrane

When a colleague, with no thought of careful collaboration, left me out of a decision-making process and went ahead with a choice I would certainly not have made, I felt indignant. I felt left out. Consultation would have been preferred.

My annoyance found expression in a long email spelling out my simmering anger over the decision. This was my area of ministry! Why was I was ignored, passed over, left out entirely? I spelt out why I would not have made the decision. I was about to press the send button…

A. Carson observes:“One of the ironies of language is that a word like ‘minister,’ which in its roots refers to a helper, one who ‘ministers,’ has become a badge of honour and power in religion and politics.”

Matthew 20:24 (NLT) says, When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.

Salome had asked for places of honour for her sons, James and John in the coming kingdom.

It seems the first shall be last and the last shall be first lesson had made no impression upon the disciples. Not for James or John and not for the other disciples. The other disciples were indignant. Were they jealous of the forthright nature of Salome, James and John, there blundering ability to express what everybody is secretly thinking?

The indignation of the “ten” displayed the same spirit if not the same motive as the request of the sons of Zebedee. No matter how justified they thought they might be, it had the capacity to cause a rift

What comes first, an argument or a relationship? Always a good question to ask. A rift in the relationships of His disciples is not what Jesus wants, especially at such a crucial time as this, just before He goes to the Cross.

And it is this interaction with the disciples that Jesus uses to tell them about what it really means to be a follower of Christ. The perspective He imparts gives voice to the heart of the importance of relationship.

When other people trigger off the worst in me, will I make a choice about how I respond? Will I be restrained by wisdom in my emotional responses to what other people say and do? Most of all, will respond to what Jesus is saying for my life? Will I hear His voice above the voices of others? 

I decided not to send the email. Better to calm down and preserve the relationship with my colleague by talking it though personally … later. 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 13:1-17 – MAYBE IF I ACTUALLY LISTENED FOR A CHANGE! – Part 1

Ears to hear?

In the middle of an argument, my Mum would say something like this – “Maybe if you LISTENED for a change, you would understand what I am trying to tell you!” So often I am not so much LISTENING but simply waiting for the other person to finish so that I can get across my point of view. Not really a very teachable position to be in. Ears to hear but unwilling to listen.

Joan is 99 years old and she feels that her world is so isolated. Even with hearing aids, she has to listen carefully to pick up anything I am saying. Ears that don’t hear well but more than willing to listen.

In Matthew 13 Jesus says “LISTEN!” with even greater authority than my Mum and with a voice that even Joan can understand. He addresses this problem of how different people are responding to Him. I can get caught up in all the arguments, but the real issue is to do with LISTENING. MAYBE IF I LISTENED…

Just a simple story. Jesus is obviously speaking about something important, but as I read, it doesn’t seem all that significant. The question is “Am I going to miss what He is trying to tell me because of my preconceived ideas about Him or because I insist on my own points of view?” Maybe if I listened….

It’s been a BUSY DAY for Jesus. He has been doing some amazing miracles and teaching with incredible authority. He has been bombarded with a steady barrage of artillery from the Pharisees by way of insults and challenges. It’s usually the religious people who criticize Jesus the most. He does not allow this to distract Him and encourages others to stay on track and LISTEN. Ears to hear.

He says in effect that listening is like a “farmer” who has seeds to plant and he goes into the field and scatters them. The seed that falls on the “FOOTPATH” is eaten by the “birds”. Other seed grows in “SHALLOW SOIL” with “UNDERLYING ROCK” and it wilts because it doesn’t have deep roots. Other seeds grew too, but they grew in a THORN infested area. They grew up and the thorns choked the tender plants (Matthew 13:3-8). We’ve got some thorny weeds in our garden like that.

It seems that this farmer does have some “FERTILE SOIL” in his field and it is the only ground that produces a crop worth harvesting. Even then he doesn’t get a very good crop in terms of his overall investment in seed. The crop he does receive from the fertile soil doesn’t all give him a 100% return. Some of it only yields 30%, and some 60%.

Just a simple story without explanation. In fact Jesus doesn’t seem as if He is going to give me an explanation at first.

But He goes on to tell me that anyone with EARS TO HEAR should listen and understand (Matthew 13:9). So this is not meant to be just a nice story. It has significant meaning and implications that are worthwhile for me to understand and apply. Is that the FIRST CLUE to being FERTILE SOIL – having EARS TO HEAR?

Is He talking about faith when He says “He who has ears to hear”? I don’t know yet. One thing is clear. There are those who don’t hear and don’t understand (Matthew 13:11-17). Apparently it takes an INTENTIONAL HEARING if I am to understand anything Jesus says. Or, like the Pharisees, I can remain far too intentional about not listening to anything He says.

So the invitation Jesus gives me is “Listen!” God bless you today as you respond to Jesus by saying “What would my world look like if I listened to what Jesus is saying here and spent time intentionally seeking to understand how it applies to my life today.”

Jesus looks to me as He speaks to the crowd in Matthew 13:9 (NLT) and says “Anyone with ears to hear should LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND.” “OK Lord, You’ve got my attention. I’m listening?”

Pastor Ross