Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Luke 7:31-35, where Jesus says,   

“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

Does the Lord Amuse Us or Call Us to Faith?

Fickle or Faithful? Childlike or childish? These are the basic issues in our reading. Jesus confronts a crowd one day and he calls them to account. He basically says that they are missing the whole point. The work of God is not merely for one’s amusement. It is rather for our very lives and salvation. He uses the example of children playing “childishly” to point out a brutal fact. Children are often not as “childlike” as we would believe, namely, joyfully trusting and obedient. All too often they are “childish,” that is, fickle, inattentive, and even mean. It’s like when we were kids. One group wanted to play a happy game. But the others said it was too silly; they wanted to play something serious. However, their suggestion was too somber or gloomy for the first group. Fickle, never satisfied, childish, and unhappy, no matter what we do. Does that sound like someone you know?

Truth be told, we are all childish at times. Just take an honest look at how we often treat people, even those we love. It’s often with actions that are the opposite of “childlike” wonder and joy that honors others as gifts from God. Rather, our treatment of others could often be described as a “childish” misuse of a cherished relationship merely to get what we want on our terms. But, as bad as that is, it is much worse when we are childish about the things of God. In our text, Jesus is calling us all not to play childish games with the things of God. When God calls us to repentance, He is calling us to take our need for Him seriously. When He calls us to faith in His forgiveness and mercy, He’s calling us to take His grace seriously too. Repentant faith in the person and work of Jesus -- now that’s something to be received with childlike joy and wonder, not fickle childishness and discontent.

So as you count down the days until Christmas, let the incredible message of the manger, the cross, and the resurrection bring you awe and wonder! And may that bring you hope and peace each day. Jesus makes this offer boldly, as if He’s declaring, “When I say this, you can take it to the bank!” Actually, He says, “Wisdom is justified by all her children.” This means that taking the message of John the Baptizer and Jesus to heart is a gift that always comes through for us, one that never lets us down. Consider all the people who have come to such faith as a testimony to God’s faithfulness, because it is for you too.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us childlike hearts with faith in You this Christmas and always. AMEN.

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