Daily Bible Reading:
Monday, March 25. Read Isaiah 25:6-8. 1) What vision does Isaiah have of “the mountain of the Lord’s house? 2) What does Isaiah say that God will destroy? 3) What will occur for people who have suffered?
Tuesday, March 26. Read Luke 6:20-25. 1) Who is “blessed” in this text? 2) What does Jesus say to those who have been rich and empowered in this life? 3) What does Jesus say about human praise?
Wednesday, March 27. Read Luke 9:57-62. 1) What did wannabe Jesus’ followers say they were willing to do? 2) What was Jesus’ response to them each? 3) Why do you think Jesus gave them such stern replies?
Thursday, March 28. Read Luke 14:7-11. 1) What do you usually find at gatherings of people? 2) Where did Jesus say followers of his should sit? 3) Why is that hard? 4) What happens when you follow Jesus’ instruction?
Friday, March 29. Read Luke 14:12-14. 1) When you throw a party, who are you inclined to invite? 2) Who does Jesus say we should invite?
Saturday, March 30. Read Luke 14:15-24. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
Dear Father, this is a painful parable which we have just considered. We want to identify with those who received the second round of invitations. We want to think that we would have joyfully attended the banquet. But when we are honest, we know that we’d be the ones objecting to the healing and inviting our friends and family, only, to the banquet.
Please open our hearts. I beg you to move in the lives of those LifeSpringers who are asking the wrong questions. Please trouble their spirits so that your Spirit can work there. In Jesus’
Hymn of the Week:
Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life
Frank Mason North, 1905
Where cross the crowded ways of life,
where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife,
we hear your voice, O Son of Man.
In haunts of wretchedness and need,
on shadowed thresholds fraught with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed,
we catch the vision of your tears.
From tender childhood’s helplessness,
from human grief and burdened toil,
from famished souls, from sorrow’s stress,
your heart has never known recoil.
The cup of water given for you
still holds the freshness of your grace;
yet long these multitudes to view
the sweet compassion of your face.
O Master, from the mountainside,
make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
among these restless throngs abide;
O tread the city’s streets again;
Till all the world shall learn your love,
and follow where your feet have trod;
till glorious from your heaven above
shall come the city of our God.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Compassionate Like Our Savior
How would Jesus deal with folks in Beverly Hills?
by Randy Becton
Riding down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills with my wife Camilla, my daughter Shana and my nine-year-old grandson Breylin was an experience I’ll never forget. We were on the lookout for Hollywood movie and TV stars. We were also noticing the Rolls Royces, jewelry and fashion stores.
I wondered to myself, “Is this where the ultimate happiness springs from — being able to walk into one of these stores, purchase something expensive, then walk out and do it again two or three times in other stores?”
You see, on Rodeo Drive, you can buy a $43,000 blue-gray fox-fur bedspread, a $32,000 suede poncho to toss on over your jeans, or you can stop at John Peter’s for a $125.00 haircut. Shopping where the richest of the rich shop may be someone’s idea of living well (or of fun), but for my grandson and I, it was “Boring!” … and “Could we leave to go buy a Big Mac for lunch, cause it’s well past our lunch time?”
As we drove out of the rich area to go find our Big Mac, our eyes quickly spied the people pushing grocery carts loaded down with everything they owned. They were also going towards McDonald’s. Why? To ask the customers for money so that they could eat a hamburger.
You see, if they had asked for money on Rodeo Drive, the police quickly would have arrived to arrest them on charges of “panhandling.” Rodeo Drive merchants won’t put up with beggars, street people or the homeless because they want an atmosphere of happy, carefree shopping to surround their patrons. Joy-filled shoppers buy more, shop longer and generally have a more “contented” shopping experience.
Think of what the site of these poor people could create in the minds of the Rodeo Drive crowd — pangs of guilt over excess shopping, uneasiness when someone with a crazed look asks for a couple of dollars while blocking the crosswalk, and the sense that “these people” wreck a good shopping climate for important tourist dollars from around the world. The last of these sentiments was illustrated by one French shopper who bemoaned, “There should be more laws to protect us from the beggars.”
What would Jesus have thought of Rodeo Drive shopping bonanzas? Would he be tender toward those trapped in their excessive spending lifestyles? Would he challenge the down and out to get up, go out and find a job, tossing aside their grocery baskets?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. But there is one question I can’t escape: what would he have me do?
I claim to be a Jesus-follower. I know he has called me to enter the lives of people who need to experience his compassion — whether those people are rich and if they are poor. I’ve read Jesus’ story and I’m convinced that the Cross is firmly bound to compassion for all people. You remember one thing Jesus said on that Cross, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33 NLT)
What do people need?
Jesus met people at their point of need whether they were rich or poor. It’s easy to despise the rich, thinking, “I’m not rich.” It’s often easy to feel sorry for the poor and yet give them none of my time or attention. How does that square with what Jesus would have me do?
In the Bible, compassion always means action on behalf of someone. Study Jesus’ life. It’s not sentiment, but action. Should the “haves” share with the “have nots?” In Jesus’ teaching, we who are blessed by the touch of Jesus in our lives are expected to be involved in behalf of needy people, whether rich or poor. How often I’ve seen someone rich who is poor in relationships and lonely for real friendships — look at the divorce rate for Hollywood millionaires and superstars. And the poor sometimes have the “contentment” of the Savior because their faith is real and deeply satisfying — go on a mission trip to a third world country and meet Christian people with nothing who are full of joy because of their faith.
We can’t stereotype the rich and the poor into convenient little categories. We encounter people one at a time. Our categories often are confusing and somewhat complicated. What I’ve found far more consistent and easy to understand is the way Jesus treated people.
And that is the assignment he has given you and me. “Randy, you say you love me. That’s good. Now, go do my work in the world. Love and serve people in my name. I’ll be with you, right by your side. Remember, love them according to their need, not according to what they deserve. Be compassionate, just as your Heavenly Father is compassionate.”
I understand the charge I’ve received. And I really want to live that way. But it’s hard to push out beyond my selfish desires to work compassionately in another’s life.
Whether it’s on Rodeo Drive or in the McDonald’s in downtown Hollywood, people need to see Jesus and experience his touch of mercy. Jesus’ words stand, “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:31-46) That’s my call in life … and yours. We are called to minister with Jesus, whether in the life of the one pushing a shopping cart or the one buying a blue-gray fox-fur bedspread on Rodeo Drive.