2000 years ago, compasses did not point north.
I’m not talking about the real compass made out of brass, but the internal compass made out of flesh and blood. Jesus, in His first sermon, (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) lays down the foundation for His public ministry on earth. A ministry of recalibration.
Look at what he says first:
Blessed are the poor in spirit…
Blessed are those who mourn….
Blessed are the meek….
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness….
Blessed are the merciful….
Blessed are the pure in heart….
Blessed are those who are persecuted….
Blessed are you when others revile you….
Not exactly your list of the rich and famous. To a bunch of people wandering around and floundering in life, this must have been shocking. To those in power, this must have sounded ludicrous, insane. Jesus is shocking people out of their normal way of life.
He goes on to say that He didn’t come to get rid of the law, but lets them know that the law is not enough. Simply following the law does not cure the ills of the heart. Committing adultery in the flesh or committing it in your heart is all the same in the eyes of Jesus.
He talks about prayer and how the big flowery prayers being said are not what God is looking for. He knows what you need, so get to the point. Love that! Jesus then goes into a diatribe on how we worry too much about money and “things”. “Don’t build treasure where treasure is temporal.” There is an entirely different system of value in God’s economy. Earthly treasure molds, light is dark, flowers are dressed better than people! Crazy talk!!
Jesus ends up with letting us know that we are as bad and sinful as the next guy, so trying to be judge and jury in spiritual matters is futile. But also that we need to be aware that people are trying to fool us into believing that South is North, so beware. Jesus lays this foundation: “What God values and what man values are very different things.” He punctuates this by telling the story of the house on the rock and the house on the sand. This story isn’t about salvation, but about recalibration. Building value on earthly foundations is folly. Building value on God’s foundation – what He values – is wise.
So why am I telling you something you already knew and have read for yourself? Because if you look at the world today and even the Church today, our compasses are not pointing North. We whine when we don’t get our way in politics. We fret and fuss and judge spiritual depth over whether people carry Bibles to church when the majority of Christians in other parts of the world don’t have a Bible to carry nor a place to worship. We practice our righteousness on street corners (and in blogs) instead of in private because the temporal rewards of knowing our little place in this world is how we want it and showing others that we are buttoned down and put together is more important than knowing God in the privacy and silence of our houses and offices.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” This verse is speaking to me because only God can know if I am pure in heart. It’s not something that can be seen by others, not something I can be proud of because no one knows but God.
Here’s my challenge. Let Matthew 5, 6 and 7 recalibrate you this week. Just read it without preconceptions. Let the words of Jesus speak to you. Look for areas where your compass is off. Try to live this recalibrated life with a compass that truly points North.
Pops Blair, 2007