13 Dec No More Rotten Fruit
Read Luke 1:5-25;57-66
Thought for the Day: What’s on the inside?
Trying to be ‘religious’ without pursuing a relationship with God is like looking at the outside of fruit without checking to make sure it is good on the inside. Religion is an outward appearance. Religion is all the things we do that are seen by others. The relationship is what is going on inside us as we quietly pray, read our Bibles, and trust God.
Recently, I decided to make a smoothie to split with my two-year-old daughter, Ruby. I found an apple, a few strawberries, and some blueberries. Because I was making it for both of us, I made sure to not simply go by what I saw on the outside. Instead, I grabbed a knife and carefully cut open the fruit. It’s a good thing that I did because when I cut into the apple, I discovered that it was brown and spoiled on the inside! A few minutes later, Ruby had her strawberry/apple/blueberry smoothie made with fruit that was good on the inside and the outside. I, in turn, had avoided a major “Dad Fail”.
In the Gospel of Luke, we meet a priest named Zechariah. While he was an extremely ‘religious’ person, Zechariah had a problem that no one noticed. His religion was perfect on the outside, but inwardly he had never learned to trust God. Fortunately, God loved Zechariah and didn’t let this get in the way. Through the miraculous birth of his son (whom we know as ‘John the Baptist’), God gave Zechariah the opportunity to put his religion in its rightful place and build a personal, trusting relationship.
What about us? Are we settling for a collection of outward appearances (religion) while failing to really trust God? Or, are we learning the lesson of Zechariah and putting our full trust in God by listening, praying, and enjoying God’s presence every day? This Christmas season, let’s remember that Jesus didn’t come to make us more religious. Jesus came to forgive everything in our life that gets in the way so we can have a personal relationship with God built on faith and faith alone. Simply put, when we get to know Jesus, our inside will match our outside!
Pastor David (and Stan)