“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!” (Luke 12:49 – 50)
I was all ready, beloved reader, to write a critique of the urgency of these first two verses. But I paused a moment and thought of my own “dear” self, and realized I am the same way. When something urgently needs to be done, I want to get it done! When a task needs to be accomplished, whether large or small, I want to get moving and do it. For the small ones I say, “This won’t take long so I want to do it now, and then move on to the next thing.” For the large ones I say, “This is going to take some time and effort so I want to map out my plan and at least start the first step/stage.” In other words, I just can’t wait!!
“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Verses 51 – 53)
I used to be shy and hesitant about speaking my mind, deferring rather than opening up. But that has changed. More often than not I speak my mind, and if it ruffles some feathers, then maybe they need to be ruffled. I used try to be controversial – never really pulled it off. But I realized maybe it was not that I was so mundane but so persuasive that no only really took issue with it. Anyway, while I am a person of peace, I am far from being retiring and reticent.
“He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.” (Verses 54 – 55)
Over the years I have refined my counseling techniques. Many times when I see someone heading towards a “not good place in life” I try to warn them. If they do not heed my warnings, I don’t intercede but just wait for the inevitable mess up, and then help them recover from their missteps. But if in my honest and considered opinion the person should have known better, I don’t give a warning but wait for the mess up. Because, well, sometimes people have to learn the tough lessons of life . . . . several times over.
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” (Verse 56)
Overall, in the past, I thought this passage was rather harsh and unyielding. But I have come to see that sometimes you have to be blunt and direct to get your point across. I know the Divine has a time or two (or three or four) had to use blunt and direct tactics with me.
It is my hope and prayer, beloved reader, that you will learn quickly, well, and completely the things the Divine has to teach you. Selah!