After he had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. Luke 11:37
Jesus got the invite.
Not from a disciple. Not from a family. Not from a friend. It was from a Pharisee.
A Pharisee, who watches his each and every move and who is quick to judge Jesus’ actions which he considers as mistakes, invited him. He is part of a group who are full of insecurity about Jesus’ being and personality. His eyes look for the bad in every good in Jesus. His heart is filled with anger each time Jesus satisfies the hunger. Jesus’ words come in and come out on the sides of his head, no message is committed and no grace is embedded. If Jesus does this, he says damn. If Jesus does that, he says damn. No action, no words or no miracles is correct in his eyes and in his heart.
Yet, Jesus responds to his invitation. He enters his door and sits on his chair. His feet tread the floor where this Pharisee stands every day. His nose breathes the air inside this house. He sits at his table. He takes food from his plate. He reclines like he is at home. Ha! This is how he responds to the invitation – Jesus is at home.
This is Jesus. This is our Lord. This is the God of heavens and of the earth.
As long as he is invited, he will come. No matter who you are. No matter what you have done or whatever you will do in the next minute or next hour, he will enter your life. As long as you say he is welcome into yours, he will not waste time, he is come. The instant you say the words, “Come to my home, come to my heart.”, he is coming at your doorstep. He is coming into your heart, broken or whole. He is coming into your life, perfect or wrecked. He does not discriminate. Disciple or Pharisee. Tax payer or tax collector. Friend or foe. Close or distant. He just comes when he is invited. He wants your home to be his home.
Issue the invitation. Now.
And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only kept hearing that “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” So they glorified God because of me. Galatians 1:22-24
They glorified God because of me.
Read that again, “They glorified God because of me.”
When I first read these verses, it seems to me that people praised God because of the eloquence and clarity of preaching Paul was delivering each time he stood up. Isn’t this familiar among us? We get in trance when we hear a gifted speaker. When the preacher’s words thunders into our hearts we thank God. We exalt God’s name when we witness how God bestows his grace for a man or a woman to deliver his message in such a powerful way. For his preachers, gifted pastors, inspiring speakers, we have glorified God. They glorified God because of Max Lucado. They glorified God because of Joel Osteen. They glorified God because of Bo Sanchez and so on. And this is not wrong.
But this is not the reason why Paul blurted, “They glorified God because of me.”
Look at the people’s description of him, “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once destroyed.” There’s still an element of Paul’s preaching. Yet the core significance of this group of words is that there was a change in Paul’s life. Something in him changed…the one who was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once destroyed…They glorified God not because of his preaching, but because Paul was changed. There was an archetype directional shift in him. 180 degrees.
So in turn, Paul was writing to the Galatians to focus on the important part of preaching – being changed for God. No gift of preaching, no authority of speaking or any other skill for ministry will ever overshadow the power of a life changed by God.
A changed life gives us a reason to glorify God.
Your changed life gives people a reason to glorify God.
There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:42
She just listened. She was silent.
The whole time Luke writes the event of Jesus with Martha and Mary, we only hear two voices not three– Jesus’ and Martha’s. We don’t read any single word coming from Mary. The Lord and the busy servant did all the talking. Mary did all the listening.
She sat down besides Jesus’ feet. Maybe, she hears him telling stories of love and miracles, that made her stay put. Maybe, she hears him speaking about his upcoming suffering, which made her glued to her spot. Maybe, she listens to him talking about how important to listen to him, she does just that.
Can you sit at Jesus’ feet? Can you listen and allow him talk?
In the midst of today’s lifestyle, trivial matters compete with this. Facebook. Twitter. Music in your gadgets. Checking emails. Television programs you can’t let go.
In the midst of today’s society, where the person who has the last word somewhat wins. Arguments at the boardroom. Gauging who is more knowledgeable around the cubicles. Debates inside the classroom. Voices rising at the family room.
Mary listened. Not only to Jesus but did not battle her sister’s stimulating remarks. She allowed Jesus to answer for her. She shut her mouth so she can fill her heart with the grace coming from listening to him.
May you listen to him. May you be silent and allow Jesus to answer for you. Close your mouth and open you heart more often.
No wonder silent is a word when jumbled in the right way can turn into listen.