13 Aug Pick Your Battles (Matt 17:27) by Dr. Rich Reich
“But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.” ~ Matthew 17:27 (full readings)
Rich’s Reflections: The words of Jesus seem uncharacteristic to me today; specifically, “but that we may not offend them.” Does this sound like a compromise of values? Jesus did not seem too concerned about offending family members in the Gospel on July 16th where He said, “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household (Matt 10:35-36).” Jesus teaches us today that some convictions of faith may be put aside if it helps keep the peace by not offending others. Jesus does not want us to abandon our convictions, but when possible, we may set them aside to achieve the greater good of peace. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is essentially telling us to pick our battles. In this spiritual war we are fighting, I choose to fight the battle for life, because if we do not respect all human life from conception to natural death, all other issues do not seem to matter. Lord, give us the courage to hold on to our necessary convictions, the humility to compromise when possible, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
* Dr. Rich Reich is the co-founder of the LIFE Group Devotions and the National LIFE Runners Team. He is married to Erica and lives in Satellite Beach, FL. Full bio.
Faith Challenge: You cannot fight all of the battles at once. Pray for the humility to compromise when possible and for the courage to hold fast to those convictions where there is no possible yield, as in the respect for all human life from conception to natural death.
Feast Day: Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus
Faith Quote: “A church that sets out to win over the world is tempted to divest itself of everything that might offend the world, to promise forgiveness without confession and renewal without repentance. It markets joy without awe and love without accountability for justice. Some compromise is inevitable, but a congregation needs to be aware of the point at which its compromises begin to serve itself more than God.” ~ Daniel Frankforter
* Pray/Fast: Prayer connects us with God’s will & His miracles, changing us & helping others. Fast from things that take your eyes off Jesus. Those who pray together stay together, and close to God!
* Save Unborn (& family): Abortion (images) is #1 death cause (22% pregnancies). Prov 24:11 & Jer 1:5. “A great poverty that a child must die that you might live as you wish.” Mother Teresa.
* Evangelize: Make room for unbelievers & re-evangelization of self, by way of prayer (relationship) and following Christ’s example of love (service/spassage/?searchacrifice/mercy). Mt 28:19.