Daily Thought For July 18, 2015

Avoiding The Tit For Tat Game

A central part of any suspense movie is the cat and mouse game between the villain and the hero. Whether it’s a high-speed chase, a game of wits, or a race against the clock, the villain is seeking to trap the hero in some kind of web to render him powerless against the villain’s schemes. For his part, the hero uses his quick reflexes, his street smarts, and his charm to avoid capture and save the day.

Well, in today’s Gospel reading, we see Jesus employ a unique strategy that probably wouldn’t play out well in a suspense movie. After he heals a man on the Sabbath, some of the Pharisees set out on an elaborate cat and mouse game in which they hope to trap Jesus in his own words so that they can put him to death. But Jesus, realizing what is going on, decides not to get drawn into their web or provoke a confrontation. Instead, he simply withdraws. He avoids confrontation altogether so that he can keep ministering to the people. That, after all, is what he had been sent to do.

What a model for us! God wants us to take after Jesus, the ultimate servant who kept his eyes focused only on doing his Father’s will. Instead of engaging in confrontation, he wants us to become agents of consolation. Instead of “crying out,” he wants us to move on to the next thing on our list. Instead of getting distracted by the enemy’s plans, God wants us to be absorbed with forwarding his plans. Imagine how many more people could hear the good news if we were all to learn the art of letting go of controversy, conflict, and condemnation!

In a culture that thrives on argument and conflict, it can be hard to remember that the only One whose opinion really matters is God. Focus on loving him and serving his people. Make it your goal only to do what you know God is asking of you. Then move on to the next task, trusting that your Father sees all that you’re doing and will both protect and reward you.

“Jesus, help me learn to walk away from needless conflict. I want to be like you, not crying out or raising my voice, but simply loving and serving your people.”

Daily Meditation from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)

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