Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 18 November 2015

Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away. Mark 12, verse 12.

Cowards.   You see, I’m the chief priests.   I’m one of the cowards.   So are you.

There’s the big story online this week about whether or not the United States should take in refugees from the Middle East, some of whom may be enemy (ISIS) sleepers.   How do you reconcile the Great Commission and Jesus’ command to love our neighbors with the very real imperative to not foolishly risk national security or American lives?   How do you stand up for things you strongly believe in and not beat-down the other guy rhetorically, not compromise your faith? Myself included, everyone on Facebook seems to have the right (and pious but shallow) answer.   Instead of doing something courageous, however, most of us (myself included again) don’t really extend ourselves to do more than give some pretty worthless opinions.   Not very Christ-like.   Pretty cowardly, in fact.

Then there’s work.   My client is going through hard times.   They have lost a significant portion of business.   In a few weeks, just after Christmas, most of their employees will be out of work. If you don’t know who to pray for, please pray for these good people who are facing some scary days ahead.   Yet in the middle of those scary days, there is work that still must be done. Some of the folks are ‘retired on duty,’ suffering from ‘short-timer’s syndrome’ and not focusing on tasks at hand.   I can understand the attitude; I’ve been there.   But there’s still that pile of unfinished work that we need to get done.   Instead of facing tough issues, more often than not, most folks simply skulk away and gripe, myself included yet again.   Coward.

Or there’s that relative who’s always bringing you down.   They constantly complain about something, telling you the same things over and over. You can talk and talk and talk with them but no matter what you say they always turn the conversation back to themselves and talk over you again. They may not even realize they’re doing it.   You love them; you worry about them; you wish there was some way you could help but instead of telling them what you really feel, you retreat and things never really change for the better. Yep; again.

Cowards.   We’re all a flavor of coward in some way.   Each of us has some kind of junk in the trunk.   Rather than face it – rather than ‘fess it up to Jesus and let Him heal it – we hold onto it and let it rot.

Here’s some news: God didn’t make us for cowardice.   Jesus didn’t die for cowardice.   He wasn’t a coward. Jesus was a hero. He did the tough, necessary work to gain our salvation, even for the chief priests who would reject and kill Him.   In doing so, He gave us all we need to turn from the cowardice of our sinful choices.   Why, then, do we keep going back to them?   Every time we do it’s like we’re spitting on Jesus’ selfless sacrifice.

How can I go on in this life of cowardice?   Thanks be to God for His mercy and His courageous Son who slayed my sins for me.

Lord, imbue me with Your faultless courage.   Forgive my cowardly moments and strengthen me to stand for You when the moment comes.

Read Mark 12, verses 13-17.

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