Daily D – Luke 7:30
But since the Pharisees and experts in the law had not been baptized by him (John), they rejected the plan of God for themselves.
LUKE 7:30 (CSB)
My bride and I sat in a lounge in the Seattle airport for a couple of hours between flights home from Vancouver. Such lounges are created to provide a bit of distance from the bustling crowds and the noise they create. They are a place of respite with free snacks and comfortable chairs. One of our credit cards provides membership to these lounges and we anticipated a bit of relaxation before our flight home.
The lounge was crowded. It was a busy place. One open chair across from us was claimed by a busy and important man. We know this because of his telephone conversation with one of his subordinates. His subordinate had a question of protocol. Our lounge mate firmly, authoritatively, loudly declared how the cow is to eat the cabbage.
He never ever, not once, entertained his subordinate’s question and possible solution. He firmly impressed upon him what to do, how to do it, and when to do it (Now!). The only people in the whole lounge who were not engaged in this reprimand and instruction were those on the far side who were watching their beloved football team in a tight game.
After repeating himself repeatedly, firmly, loudly, until we were all ready to go back outside into the hustle and bustle of a busy airport, the conversation finally concluded. There were many soft sighs of rejoicing. The lecturer, however, surveyed the crowd to see how many of us were impressed with his business acumen and domineering personality. I am not sure what he saw, but I did not view a single person who nodded in approval.
I don’t think he cared. He was right. Everyone else was wrong. I’m pretty sure he was not flying coach.
There’s a word for this kind of attitude and behavior: Smug. This was a man smugly satisfied with himself. He was king of the mountain. He made his people quake with fear. He demanded reverence. He was all that he ever wanted to be. He was probably the most impressive person in that second-rate lounge on that particular morning. His private jet was probably in the shop.
Smug is not a state to aspire to. Smug leads us to make plans of our own for ourselves and others without their acquiescence. Smug seldom entertains the consideration of error and dismisses such foolishness with finality. Smug forges a path all its own. Smug’s theme song says, “I did it My Way.”
Smug people miss God’s path and plan. They have better ideas. Smug people are smarter than God, or so they suppose.
This is the tragedy of Luke 7:30. The Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s plan for themselves. They knew a better way than grace. They had a standard higher than limitless love. To them, salvation was something to be earned. Only the few, the proud could achieve their status. Sadly, far too many Pharisees and experts in the law missed what they thought they had achieved through their own extraordinary efforts and discipline.
Grace does not produce smug souls. It creates hearts full of humble gratitude. Grace empowers us to see a better path, a superior plan to anything we could create through our own effort no matter how strenuous.
Smug has another name: Pride. Pride kills. Humility gives life. Humbly receive God’s grace through Jesus. There is no other way to experience the salvation of your soul. Or you could end up in hell with all the smug souls who want to be king of the mountain and tell everyone else what to do for a long, hot eternity.
Just a thought.
I will humble myself and follow God’s plan for my life.
Our Father, deliver me from the kind of pride that makes me smug. I will humbly follow your path, your plan. If you can create everything I know in six days, there is no telling what you can do with all the rest of the days of my life. I want to experience your wonders. Lead the way. I will follow you. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)