Reject or Rejoice?

“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.  And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.  When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed from your disability.’  And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.  But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, ‘There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’  Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?  And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’ As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.” Luke 13:10-17

Imagine the agony of being bent over almost two decades, and the pain of those who watched in helpless pity. Imagine an audible beckon from Jesus, and instant healing to make her straight. Then watch the responses: she humbly, gratefully glorified God, the crowds rejoiced, but the synagogue ruler indignantly criticized. What? Could he not see the miracle? Feel the ecstatic relief? Sense the restoration of life? Welcome and be glad in the freedom? He was so crippled by his own perspective, rigidly ruled by rules he could only nitpick and castigate, a religious curmudgeon.

Jesus, the living Word who came to fulfill the law, set a higher standard than the Pharisees kept for interpreting it. He embodied the spirit of that law and ruled for life with compassion, not for legalism with rigidity. He understood and implemented intent, teaching the deeper truths of lives transformed and saved forever. (Luke 14:1-6)

What’s my natural response to another’s favor, success, or good news? Do I find myself critical, judging the method, timing, manner, or simply that they don’t deserve it? Am I stung with jealousy: ‘why you and not me’? Or do I freely rejoice, happy for this gift my God has bestowed on another and praising Him for His grace? (Psalm 73:3,21-22; Romans 12:10,15-16)

Daily mindset dictates our reactions to what goes on around us. If we consider ourselves superior in any way to those among us- at work, church, or within families- we’ll be stodgy and bitter, asserting ourselves as experts against what should be celebrated as good. If we begin each day humbled and amazed at God’s love for us in Christ, and grateful for the gift of each breath and opportunity from Him, we will see all activity as filtered through His hands. We’ll recognize His grace, creativity, and redeeming power, and welcome it with gladness and heartfelt rejoicing.

Which is it for me? And how will I adjust my outlook to mimic Christ’s? What will I do, and pray, that life turn from all-about-me to all-about-Thee?

Lord, cause me to look for and rejoice in all the glorious things You do, that Your name and fame be extolled.

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