I met Tuesday morning with a group of pastors, as usual. Our reading came from the Moravian Daily Text. It was Luke 6:39-40.
At first glance, this seems like a collection of disparate teachings. The leader of our group suggested that this was a rabbinical style “string of pearls” teaching technique (apparently the rabbis wouldn’t teach for too long on one subject but would move from one to another to keep the people engaged). Nonetheless, I saw a similar idea in most if not all of the teachings. I saw several other ideas as well, which I recorded in my journal.
The big thing I heard here is that most teachings have behind them the idea of a “good” or “fully trained” man. This in turn lead to the question, “Am I good/fully trained?” For me, this is a difficult question, one I’ve struggled with all my life. I “feel” and/or believe the answer to be, “No.” For that reason, I felt very challenged by these teachings. I felt eliminated by them, in fact, as if they disqualify me or reveal my disqualification from the community of Christ.
As I continued to contemplate these things, I realized there is actually invitation here. I think it comes when Jesus says “The student is above his teacher”. With that, Jesus is eliminating all need for competition and comparison. He is telling me that there is only so far I can go in this goodness/training, that I’m certainly not going to go further than or supersede Him (the teacher in question). That being the case, I am free to pursue goodness and training without needing to wonder how much I and/or how much more I am than anybody else. I took this to be an encouragement. I saw, then, that Jesus was not eliminating me here (establishing that I am not good/fully trained) but encouraging me (asking me to pursue goodness/training).
One of the pastors in the group further suggested that this is not something we can do on our own, that goodness comes into us only from God. I think this is suggested by the “foundation” idea Jesus ends the message on. That foundation is obviously God/the teachings of God. The man builds on it, puts some effort into setting himself upon it. But that effort is only effective because God is there to begin with.
The main idea I took from this reading, then, is that God is an encourager, encouraging me to growth/training in His Kingdom. The subsequent action I took from this reading was a need to ask God to make me good, to remove the evil stirred up in my heart/the plank in my eye/my blindness so that I can be good and fully trained as He is encouraging me to be.
And that’s what I saw in Luke 6:39-49.