Time and Place


Time and Place

Isaiah 2:1-4

The Future House of God1

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come

the mountain of the Lord’s house

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,

and shall be raised above the hills;

all the nations shall stream to it.

Many peoples shall come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob;

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations,

and shall arbitrate for many peoples;

they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war any more.

John 12:44-50

Summary of Jesus’ Teaching

Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”

The Book of Ecclesiastes teaches us that there is an appropriate time, and an appropriate place for everything. The trick is figuring out when and where that time and place is. Unfortunately we cannot read the Bible like an instruction manual for life. It’s frustrating, especially when we have significant decisions to make. Sometimes it even makes us envious of the pagans with their fortune reading rituals and we wonder why we cannot come up with a Christian version of that. In truth, the Jews of the Old Testament used to draw lots to determine God’s will and this tradition even carried on to the beginning of the Christian movement, though to be fair, this was before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, when the Church was given more direct access to the wisdom and will of God.

One of the places we struggle the most is knowing when and where to judge others in our homes. There are two extremes that get polarized i these debates. Either we want to err on the side of grace and claim that a home is no place for judgment at all (and maybe it there is no place for us to be judging others at all), or else we put up strict boundaries in the name of protecting our family and family values from outside influences.

Regarding these relationships, Jesus told His followers to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, specifically regarding the way we act when we go into places of persecution, but for most of us, this is not what our home is. Our home is the place where we feel strongest, most in control, most comfortable. Hopefully it is not a place of persecution for your guests, where they feel that they need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves there.

Home, as Jesus teaches above, is a place of refuge for the lost and a sanctuary for the hopeless, and not just for ourselves. A true Christian home is so filled with grace that it reaches out and draws in others who are missing God’s love in their lives. It is a place of peace for those who cannot find peace in their lives. If home is the place we are strongest, than it is from home that we are called to first love even our enemies. In showing true Christian hospitality and love in our homes, we reinforce who we are as a family, demonstrating our values, not just with words, but with actions. Grace and law meet together when we serve others from our place of strength because there, even though we hold power over our guests, we show the proper use of that strength is in loving others into the kingdom rather than judging them. Home is not a place for judgment. It is one of God’s doorways into His family for all His lost children.

Where do you face the most judgment in your life?

Where do you find it easiest to welcome others into God’s love?

  1. (Mic 4:1–5)

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