Friday, February 05, 2010

A New Outlook

{Matthew 5:3-12; ESV}
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The first time I played miniature golf was quite an experience. My family was on vacation near Branson, Missouri and one night we were able to go and play a round of putt-putt golf. I realized that the object of the game was to get the ball into the hole in the fewest strokes as possible, because I remember being upset that I was getting beat by my sister. Yet when the scores were read, I could not believe that I was winning, because I had the highest score. Until that time in my life all the games I had played consisted of scoring more points than the other guy, so I assumed that there was a similar point system in golf. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that it was the person with the lowest score that won. It took me a while to finally comprehend that fact, because it seemed so strange to me.

Tiger Woods would not be able to play basketball using clubs and a little white ball, just as Kobe Bryant cannot play golf by dribbling a ball down the fairway. The two games are different, and you need a different mindset to play each game.

The object of basketball is to score more points than the other team. It requires putting a leather ball into an iron hoop. The object of golf is to get a little white ball into a little hole in the fewest strokes as possible, hopefully less than par.

In the Sermon on the Mount, in particular the Beatitudes, Jesus is telling people that they are trying to play golf by using the rules of basketball. It just does not work. The Beatitudes reveals a new way to look at life, which is contrary to the way the world thinks people should live.

For many people the object of life is to look after self. We are told that we need to make more money and have more things. When someone hurts us we are told, “Don’t get mad, get even!” We learn that a fulfilling life is one in which we become totally self sufficient, without having hardships or risks.

What Jesus said is totally different. He said that people should become servants, looking for ways to help people, and willing to give what they have. The Beatitudes are a totally new outlook on life. Living according to these principles the objective in life totally changes.

The difference between living for Jesus and living for the world is as different as playing golf and basketball. The objectives and the rules are totally different. Which set of rules are we going to play by? Are we going to play by the rules given by Satan, the “Father of Lies”? Are we going to play by the rules given by Jesus, the Creator and Savior of the world? You decide.

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