Keeping our foucus on the right things
The word "spectacular" means something really amazing and great and big and famous. With that in mind, let me ask you this:
Do you think that if you all and I put together a football team that we could win the Super Bowl? That would be spectacular if we could. But I’m pretty sure we couldn’t do that. Although we couldn’t do something spectacular like that, I’d bet that if we went outside and played football together right now we’d have a lot of fun spending time together. It may not look spectacular but I bet that God would be glad that we were enjoying running around in God’s creation and exercising the bodies he gave us.
How about if we emptied out our pockets and put the money together? Do you think we could feed all the hungry people in the world with that money? That would be spectacular if we could, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have that much money. Although we couldn’t do something spectacular like that, I’d bet that if we put our money together we could feed one person a meal and sit and talk with them. It may not look spectacular but I bet that God would be glad that we were giving up something of our own to help someone else.
In the Bible reading we just heard, Jesus was out in the desert all by himself and the devil was tempting him to be spectacular, to be so great and powerful that everyone would notice how great and powerful he was. The devil told Jesus that if he wanted to Jesus could turn rocks into bread. But Jesus didn’t want to do that. The devil told Jesus that if Jesus was to climb all the way to the tallest building in the city and jump off that God’s angels would swoop in and catch Jesus before he landed. Jesus didn’t want to do that either. Then the devil tried one last time to get Jesus to want to be spectacular. The devil told Jesus that he could be the ruler of every country and every army on the world and that Jesus could be the richest man in the world. Then everybody would notice how great and powerful Jesus was. But Jesus didn’t even want to do that. Instead, Jesus said basically, “I came here to worship and serve God, not to be great and powerful and spectacular in those ways.”
And that’s what we are to do in our lives of following Jesus. We may end up being spectacular in other people’s eyes. We may become famous or rich or very popular, which is fine if it happens, but we probably won’t. And what Jesus teaches us that God doesn’t seem to care all that much about whether or not we do spectacular things all the time, but that we do the right things all the time. God doesn’t seem to want us to love being spectacular but to love God and others instead. A very smart woman named Mother Teresa once said, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”
Let’s pray: Thank you God that you don’t care so much about the spectacular things, but instead care about the important things like loving you and loving our neighbors. Help us to care more about doing the right thing than doing the spectacular thing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.