“Why do you not do what I say?”
This is a common refrain in our home as our boys creep up on the pre-teen years. If I’ve reminded them one time about closing the door, flushing the toilet, hanging their towel, taking off their shoes as they come in the house, and brushing their teeth, I’ve reminded them a thousand times.
“Why do you not do what I say? You’re my son and I’ve told you a thousand times … why do you continually not do what I say?”
I’ve got more than a few options as a parent when it comes to instilling obedience into my children. In the end, I want them to feel the security that obedience brings and the pain that disobedience brings.
So I find it interesting that after the Lukan version of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus asked His disciples the same question we frequently ask our children: “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46). To help His disciples feel the blessing of obedience and the the pain of disobedience, He shares with them an analogy.
47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great!”
If we rightly resist the temptation to allegorize the parable, we see Jesus’ very straightforward message to His disciples: We are fools if we don’t obey Jesus’ teachings. In the same way that a fool builds a house without a foundation that cannot withstand inclement weather, we can agree with Jesus yet not do what He says and pay the price eternally in the final judgment. We are literally fools if we do not DO what He says?
And what does He say we must do? Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount answers this question initially. Read it below and ponder: Do I do what He says?
You’d be a fool not to.
27 “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
39 He also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck in your brother’s eye.