By Carl McMurray
And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice, and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which you nursed.”
But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it” (Lk. 11:27-28).
Sometimes it just seems like human nature to set our priorities in a different order from the way God intends them to be. The woman above probably thought she was paying the Lord a great compliment when she praised his mother. I have heard compliments along the same line as this myself. Her intentions, without a doubt, were sincere and honorable. The fact is, however, that she was focused in the wrong area.
People today have not changed. We still are in constant danger of doing the same thing. In spite of this plain passage, the Catholic church is still trying to “bless” Jesus by worshipping his mother rather than by listening to his words and following his instructions. Many more try to honor his birthday yearly, which is not even mentioned in Scripture, while they ignore Bible instruction to honor his death weekly by eating the Lord’s supper. The Bible says “sing” and make the melody in your heart, so men spend thousands on musical instruments and split churches over “playing” which God’s word never teaches Christians to do. The Scriptures show us God’s plan in getting the gospel out into the world while every congregation re-mains completely autonomous and self-sufficient. So men think they will honor God by ignoring that pattern and tying churches together into denominations, associations, or sponsoring church arrangements. When will we learn the lesson of Luke 11? The way to honor Jesus and compliment our Lord is to be obedient! Just doing what he says brings glory to him and blessings to us.
Which do you think is more important? To be the “winner” in a Bible discussion, or having truth come to the light (even if it is being stated by the other person)? Is it better to create a strong and pure “image” of righteousness, answering every possible accusation with righteous indignation, or to admit it when we fall prey to the sin of pride, anger, envy, covetousness, grumbling, etc.? Which will do our spirits more good? Which would the Lord be more pleased with? Would it be better to keep quiet and keep peace in the church and allow men to continue in their sin, or speak up and hurt feelings while defending the kingdom and Christ’s righteousness? Is it better to stay quiet and allow unqualified men to take positions of leadership in the church where their influence can be magnified, thus not drawing their wrath, or is it more important to uphold God’s description of godly leaders and oppose compromise with his standard?
I’m afraid that there are possibly many areas in which we need Jesus to say the same thing to us that he said to the woman in Luke 11. We think that we are serving him, or praising him, or defending him and the truth is that our focus is off. We cannot defend the gospel with sarcasm or a hateful attitude. We cannot restore a brother in sin by speaking evil of him. We cannot “persuade” and “reason with” people the way the apostle did by cramming truth down their throats with an “I’m all right and you’re all wet” attitude. And we cannot compromise or ignore one part of God’s word so that we can say that we have fulfilled another part.
We need to make God’s priorities our priorities. Whatever he says is important. Don’t step off to the side and think that we can praise God in any way we please. Praise him by obedience and start with the most difficult one to instruct self! We are not “blessed” because we pick part of God’s word, from here or there, and choose to do that part. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear (all?) the word of God, and observe it (all?).” He will bless your efforts.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 16, p. 9
August 18, 1994