So, I only have to be perfect like God?
Wow, that’s a rather tall expectation.
Jesus’ lessons on the side of a mountain generated attention. Instead of driving the crowd away, what He said attracted more followers.
The all-or-nothing demands of Jesus throughout His teachings get my attention. What’s the deal about poking out my eye or cutting off my right hand? Amputation seems a bit drastic.
Jesus tells me to be perfect like God is perfect. He knows I am not God and cannot be perfect like the Creator. What I can do is realize the holy perfection of God and spend my life on earth growing toward God’s perfection.
Powered by the Holy Spirit I can expect to increase continually in Godly perfection.
I find it interesting—and disturbing—that Jesus illustrates His point with the simple act of greeting. To be perfect I must learn to greet. Greeting people like me is not enough. I must greet pagans.
Ouch. Pagans sound different from me. I have trouble enough coming out from under my rock to meet those sort of like me.
Just out of college, my first real job was with a church. At the first worship service, Judge Guin placed his arm over my shoulders. “Gary, this is important. This is how you greet people. With your left arm make contact while using your right arm to shake hands. At the same time smile and look the person directly in the eyes.”
Once I moved to South America, I continued to learn there was nothing more important than the greeting. It must be warm and genuine.
What does Jesus’ perfection challenge have to do with church unity today and church plants tomorrow?
Jesus came to earth, and He greeted. He greeted Jews and Samaritans. He greeted God worshippers and He greeted sinners. He greeted professional anglers and He greeted tax collectors.
If I am to be perfect like God in the flesh, I will be a greeter—both in and out of my comfort zone.
Out in the world, I encounter cold shoulders everywhere. It is a disease of the 21st century. As a follower of Jesus, He called me to a higher standard. Jesus appointed me as one of His official greeters.
Jesus compared His followers to salt, light, leaven, and to a city on a hill where others might see. Without first greeting the pagans—non-Jesus followers—I cannot be salt, light, leaven, or a hilltop city.
Do you want to be perfect? Extend your hand and greet a friend or a stranger.
Stay tuned – Gary J Sorrells on Cross Church