I’m not trying to make you paranoid or anything, but I do want to call your attention to the reality that you are being watched. The moment you let it be known that you belong to Christ, you start to have others watch you closely.
It happened to Jesus, and it is happening to you. What do people assume about God from watching you? Luke 14:1 is an example, “One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.” I recently saw a news reporter talking about Paris Hilton’s latest brush with the law. They were quick to replay a message from several arrests ago when she said that God was helping her get her life together. The secular news station was watching and mocking her for her claims to be a new person with God’s help.
If you are a parent, you come to this realization at some point. Perhaps it is when your three-year old repeats the bad word you didn’t think she paid attention to. You may not think that anyone is paying any attention to your views and opinions as a Christian, but you are being watched and judged as being homophobic, closed-minded, and having other undesirable traits, according to Barna research.
As for the people who were carefully watching Jesus—what did they see? I’m not exactly sure. How did they respond when He healed a man right in front of them on the Sabbath? He didn’t just heal him to mock them; He healed him to teach them. He explained that they themselves had it in their power to help their ox out on the Sabbath and would easily do so. Ignoring the fact that they should be in awe of the power of God they witnessed in the man’s healing, He tried to reach out to their stubborn thinking that had them trapped and distant from God. He went on to give them some Dear Abby-type advice. This part I find just so kind and accepting of Jesus. He knew their hearts. He knew how much they loved the honor of men. He told them some common sense advice about being seated at a dinner. If they want to be honored, they need to make sure they didn’t take the head table seat without first being led to it.
Jesus passed the test of being closely watched. How are you doing? Try to think about the people who are closely watching you and think about how you look from their perspectives. Ask God to give you insight into their hearts as Jesus showed in Luke 14. Talk their language. Perhaps you might change their minds about Christians.
I couldn’t help myself…here is another Celtic Prayer that brings light to this message.
I saw a stranger at yestere’n.
I put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place,
And in the sacred name of the Triune
He blessed myself and my house,
My cattle and my dear ones,
And the lark said in her song
Goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.
Celtic Rune of Hospitality