What happens to people? One minute we declare love for God, align our thoughts and actions around Him, and promise our selves that He is our King. So quickly after that, we miss the mark, overestimate our ability, and neglect the very relationship that had our devotion.
This is true today (and true for me) and it was true in that first Holy Week. Jesus came into town heralded, but did not deviate from a message of hope and life. But it was different than people's expectations. I think that is why we struggle so regularly in our life with Jesus. We put our expectations on him: he will make our problems go away, he will grant our wishes, he will protect and provide and secure. And when life hits, when stuff really blows up, we can tend toward letting distance grow between man and God.
In that first Holy Week, Jesus taught some things that changed people's expectations. Expectations are powerful,but reality was even more potent. (Click here and read Luke 20:41-47; into 21:1-4)
Jesus redefines that he is not the second David as was being taught. In fact, Jesus points out that those who are teaching do not have the heart of God. He declares them to be hypocrites and he points out that those who have claimed to be holy, godly, and pious will be "punished most severely". He cracks the facade of so many who want to be religious, and he shifts their thinking away from ritual, regulations, statutes, and rules. He is telling us that "checking boxes" and doing certain things because we are supposed to doesn't lead to life with God. Then he shows what his expectations really are.
A woman gives what she has to give to the cause of the Kingdom. And he looks up and shouts "THERE!…THAT…THIS is what I am talking about" The woman gives something financially, but Jesus speaks to her heart. She "gave out of her poverty". And Jesus tells a bunch of people who gave more, who contributed more significantly and who could fund the next thing; Your heart is not right.
This moment changes Jesus in the minds of those whose hearts were hard to His ways. They do not want anything to do with their own hearts, love pointing out their superiority, and try to use the letter of the law to build wealth, reputation, and prestige. I do this to. I can fall into traps. I think if I go to worship services, sing along, even take communion every once in a while. I join multiple small groups, read my bible daily, and serve others. I give away my money and I pray.
But I know the difference. The difference between doing these exact same things from a place of "sposta" (Sposta pray, sposta give, sposta serve, etc) and a place of thirst. Thirst means I do certain things (often the same things) with a heart looking for relationship, and I give myself (my whole self) in pursuit of God. Thirst drives actions and reflects heart. The woman who gave all she had to give was thirsty. Jesus highlights her among the others because she has a thirsty heart.
This week, I want to become thirsty. I want to grow in my desire for relationship with Jesus. I want to hear him single me out as one who gives what I have to give. And I want to celebrate with you when you hear it. One note of clarification…this isn't a financial model. This isn't a post to get more money. The news that cost Jesus his reputation, influence, and life in his day was that giving money was one of the least things he was really asking.
He wants my life…and yours.
He wants all of our hopes and dreams and pleasures and pains. He wants everything we have because he knows what he can build in a thirsty/surrendered heart. Holy Week teaches us that it is human nature to resist this call. Back then it meant kill this messenger. Today it means seeking our own recipe for life, defining its limits and its values, and adding God whenever it is convenient and easy (or desperate). Thankfully God is faithful even when our hearts veer away from Him. Remember that you are part of the crowd in Jerusalem that week. You are making decisions and choosing actions. Are you running with this counterculture, subversive, committed message?
Share with me or others you love what it is like to see Jesus in this light…