By May Thiessen
I volunteer with a children’s program each week. Lately we’ve been looking at the teachings of Jesus, and specifically, we’ve been working at memorizing the Beatitudes. I was telling the children that in many ways, Jesus says things that seem to be backward compared to the way we’d normally do or say things. After all, the Beatitudes start, “Happy are the poor (Blessed are the poor in spirit)… Happy are the sad (Blessed are those that mourn)… Happy are you when people pick on you because you want to do what is right (Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness). Isn’t that contrary to what we’d normally think or believe? Jesus continually calls us to think counter to our culture.
This makes me think further; in what other ways does Jesus call me to listen to Him instead of to the culture around me? Am I able to listen to His call to me? We were studying from Luke with the children. He has so many teachings there that challenge me: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Who have I been praying for lately? It tends to be the ones I love: my family, my friends, and my church family. Perhaps, I need to listen to my Lord and while not neglecting the ones I love, to pray and seek the best for those that I find hard to love, the ones that really bug me, the student that’s been giving me so much grief in my class.
Perhaps, as well as changing my prayer list, I need to change my attitude. Jesus further challenges me by stating that if I’m hearing His words and not putting them into practice, I’m like the foolish one, who built my house on the sand. If I’m not praying for the people who are part of my life challenges – if I’m not seeking to do the best for them – then I’m not growing the way my Lord wants me to grow. I’m not built on the proper foundation. Because I come from a long line of builders, I understand what that means. I think I need to get back to work, building the right foundation: both listening to what Jesus has to say to me and putting it into practice.