Matthew 11:20-24 (CEB)
20 Then he began to scold the cities where he had done his greatest miracles because they didn’t change their hearts and lives. 21 “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How terrible it will be for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have changed their hearts and lives and put on funeral clothes and ashes a long time ago. 22 But I say to you that Tyre and Sidon will be better off on Judgment Day than you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be honored by being raised up to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to the place of the dead. After all, if the miracles that were done among you had been done in Sodom, it would still be here today. 24 But I say to you that it will be better for the land of Sodom on the Judgment Day than it will be for you.”
I have to admit that when I first read the texts for this evening, I immediately looked at the list of texts for other days this week, but none were any better!
The Gospel reading sounds so much like warning, punishment and lacking in grace that I found it hard to recognize Jesus in it. Then I thought, well, maybe Jesus could be having a temper tantrum. These beloved and familiar towns weren’t responding to him as quickly and as fully as he had hoped.
And then, I looked for commentaries and found a helpful thought: “I pray that I may not miss the ways in which Jesus is active in my life.” It is so easy to go about our normal lives and not pay attention to the wonderful little things that are happening all the time.
Mike and I travel near and far with cameras handy. I use just my phone, but Mike has some better cameras he uses as well. The other day, he showed me a photo of a mayfly on our mailbox. Of course, we had to do the research to discover what kind of bug it was. That’s how we know it was a mayfly! We had about a half hour conversation as we learned more about this fascinating critter.
I marvel at the God-incidence that allowed me to visit Phyllis Richards in the hospital the day before she died. The hospital had just relaxed its visitation rules so one person at a time could visit.
I know you all have some experiences of God-incidences that remind you that God is active, even when we are not paying attention.
God puts people in our lives, sometimes just for a few minutes, and our encounter with them makes a difference. Doctors figure out how to solve large and small medical problems every day. Engineers discover new ways to build safe roads and bridges. Congregations learn how to do electronic worship – because computer geeks created the technology for virtual meetings.
These are the kinds of things we should be paying attention to and thanking God for, every day. One way to learn to pay more attention is to spend a few minutes at the end of the day giving thanks for the God-given things you noticed. Let’s commit ourselves to noticing the little things God is doing, so Jesus won’t need to have another tantrum.