Who influences our world the most? Leaders such as presidents and monarchs, of course, and scientists, teachers, and artists. But what about parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles? And those who buck the tide of popular opinion by what they say and how they live?
During ancient times, “the dread”—i.e., fear, awe, respect—“of the LORD was on all the kingdoms of the lands around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.” (II Chronicles 17:10) Then came King Ahaziah, who “walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. He did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab, for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction.” (II Chronicles 22:3-4, emphasis mine) Imagine that mother’s regret!
In contrast, Jesus, the most influential person of all time, preached love and redemption, living what he preached. The religious leaders, however, questioned his teachings, “plotting against him to catch him in something he might say.” (Luke 11:54b) Yet, his words not only astonished them but also rock us and our world today.
What can we say to those who ask about what we believe? While we’re not perfect, we don’t want to bungle opportunities to share who Jesus is, and we long for those around us to discover the truth about him, life-changing truth that brings forgiveness, peace, hope, purpose, and a sense of significance. Jesus knew our quandary, for he said, “Don’t worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11b-12)
From July readings for Days 19, 20, and 21
II Chronicles 17-19, 20-21, and 22-24
Psalms 144, 145, and 146
Luke 11:29-36, 11:37-54, and 12:1-12
II Thessalonians 1:1-7, 1:8-12, and 2:1-12