The following story appeared in a recent edition of Leadership Journal.
“A traveler, between flights at an airport, went to a lounge and bought a small package of cookies and a newspaper. The woman found an empty seat in the gate area and sat down next to a man reading a magazine. After a couple of minutes she became aware of a rustling noise. From behind her paper she peeked to see the man sitting next to her helping himself to her cookies. After the initial shock she decided not to make a scene so she reached over and took a cookie for herself.
A minute or two passed and then came more rustling. The woman peeked from behind her paper and sure enough, the man was helping himself to another cookie. Again the woman decided not to make a scene and instead reached over and took two cookies for herself. This same process occurred several more times until there was one cookie left. The man broke the cookie in two pieces, ate half, and slid half over to the woman, got up and left.
The woman couldn’t believe the audacity of the man and was still fuming over the whole affair when she boarded her flight. After takeoff the woman needed something in her purse and when she opened it up the first thing she saw was her package of unopened cookies.”
Our assumptions can be misleading more often than we want to admit!
Following up on last week’s discussion of change and growth, we now turn to the related concepts of flexibility and adaptation. Change and growth are certainly necessary ideas for us to grapple with, but in order to understand this dynamic we must also understand our threshold for change. From a worldview perspective, flexibility and adaptation match this concept nicely.
What do flexibility and adaptation mean in this context? Where are the lines for ‘not flexible enough’ and ‘too flexible’ in the process of change? How are those lines determined? What do differing worldviews have to say about this concept? Why should we care?
In our previous study we learned about the deadly disease of affluenza or materialism. The reason that this is so deadly for the Christian is because it results in an unbiblical focus on the acquisition of things.
Materialism causes people to lose their ability to achieve contentment and leads instead to compromise and coveting.
Jesus tells us in verses 19-24 of chapter 6 to beware of the trap of thinking that possessions satisfy the soul because not only do they not satisfy but they cannot satisfy. We are not designed by God to be satisfied by material possessions.
Notice that verse 24 serves as Jesus’ summary of the result of disregarding this spiritual truth – you will be mastered by things.
I want to consider two questions and their answers this morning in light of what Jesus says –
Over the last several weeks we’ve been learning the difference between authentic Christianity as presented by our Lord Jesus and religious formalism demonstrated by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and many who profess faith today.
The apostle Paul would refer to this latter group as people who held “a form of godliness although they have denied its power.” Paul’s exhortation concluded with the warning to “avoid such men as these.”
Jesus simply called them what they were – hypocrites.
As we look back at this great teaching that started in chapter 5, we come to understand more and more why Jesus says what He says. For example, “You have heard it said, but I say to you” can be seen as Jesus saying “Your religious formalism demanded (such and such) but authentic Christianity, true righteousness is demonstrated by (such and such).”
Hi friends. Kathy and I made it home Monday afternoon after spending Thursday evening through Monday morning at the Hear The Watchmen (HTW) Conference in Dallas. I’m still not caught up on everything that needs to be addressed but I simply must take some time to share with you some thoughts about this past weekend.
Kathy and I have been to many conferences over the years. We were both saved in 1983 and since that time have attended too many conferences to begin to count. Most of them were worthwhile, a few were not, but only a handful standout. At the top of the list of these outstanding conferences is this recent HTW Dallas Conference.
What made it so very special was the clear presence of the Holy Spirit. Evident to both of us from the moment we arrived and gathered with the other speakers for a meal prior to the official start of the conference on Friday, was the singular purpose and goal. We were there to encourage and equip the remnant body of Christ and one another.