How many chances do we need before we understand what God desires of us? This thought arose from the reading of Barclay's commentary on Luke 13:6-9. The Luke passage is about the fig tree that is given another chance to bear fruit.
Israel was given the opportunity to be God's chosen people but she saw that status as being for herself and not as a privilege and responsibility that needed to be shared with others. She was given chance after chance to redeem herself until finally God acted to open up the opportunities for others ignoring Israel.
This speaks to us as well. We are repeatedly given our opportunities and chances. If we don't take them, we will find God closing the door on us. We will lose the privilege that we have gained and find ourselves looking on others being given the opportunities that we used to have.
So often we can focus on things that give us status or an advantage over others when God really wants us working to bring equality and reconciliation. My goal isn't to preach a gospel of repentance but rather to open up the opportunities for others to know God's love and to work together for encouraging and strengthening others.
It is so easy to rejoice in what we have been given and to ignore the responsibilities that go with those gifts. As I write this I am looking toward my next job and what it might be. I am wondering how the next position will help me promote reconciliation and peace but I also need to be doing this in the current job. I am conscious of events happening around me which so easily could be opportunities to be judgemental but which require the showing of love, compassion, and a desire to understand. How do we show love that leads to repentance and reconciliation? How do we speak the truth in love? The choices that we have in life are not always easy and it is often more comfortable to seek security for oneself ahead of showing compassion and concern for others.
We are given our chances. What are we doing with them?
Barclay, W. (1975). The gospel of Luke (revised ed.). Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press.