Devotional – Wednesday, April 27, 2022
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12a, NLT)
One of the rules for public speaking is that you should try to get your audience’s attention with an attention getter—a joke, funny story or interesting fact. Well, when Jesus began his now famous ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ he began with a doozy of an attention getter…or rather a list of ideas that just didn’t sound right to his audience. Can’t you just hear the buzz that Jesus’ beatitudes would have created?
• God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him…but isn’t wealth a proof of God’s blessing?
• God blesses those who mourn…how is being sad a good thing?
• God blesses those who are humble…not if I don’t get my own way!
• God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice…I’d rather collect stuff for me.
• God blesses those who are merciful…why should I be expected to help others? I’ve got my own problems.
• God blesses those whose hearts are pure…what fun is that?
• God blesses those who work for peace…work for peace? You obviously don’t know my neighbours!
• God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right…persecution? Sign me out.
These ideas would have sounded strange to the crowd listening that day. Jesus was telling people how to live from God’s perspective. And that is very different from what most of us expect. Jesus was telling his audience that there is more to life than collecting things, partying and getting ahead. We need to be concerned for the welfare of others…even when it costs us. We need to value the things God tells us are important, not what we hear every day on the television, social media or even from friends and family. We need to take the values of the world and quite literally turn them upside down!
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!