Licitus perimus omnes.
“These lawful things undo us, unlawfully managed.”
That was the term and the lesson I got when I read one of the parables of Jesus. A warning that we certainly need.
In Luke 14:16-24, we find the Son of Man telling the story of a man who arranged for a grand feast, inviting plenty of people. After ensuring all was done and set for the party to start, he sent out his servants to let the invitees know that the time was due.
And what happened? These people started giving excuses.
One person had to go check out his land, another had to test his newly acquired oxen, another cited his recent wedding too as a reason to not come.
What I noticed as I looked through these excuses given, what I realized is that these were not inherently sinful things. These three peeps were not putting off the invitation because they were more interested in going to an orgy. They had legitimate concerns. I mean, it’s natural that after buying a piece of land, you’d want to go and check it out. It’s only logical that you’d want to ensure your oxen are in good shape. And technically, after getting married, you most definitely wanna spend as much time as possible with your spouse. Have some fun.
These things were totally good. But the problem here was how the invitees rated these things above the call to the feast. And truthfully speaking, that is a major issue for a lot of us as believers.
Sure, we may have our hearts set firmly against sin, knowing it is antithetical to our nature as children of God. But then, things like our education, work, relationships, may get in the way.
We ought to remember that we have been called to a feast. A feast of knowing and growing in intimacy with the Creator of the universe. It has never been just about avoiding hell as far as the gospel is concerned. John Piper puts it quite accurately with this: The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. This is a wonderful call that has to be given the utmost priority.
But when we allow these worldly life issues to get in the way of accepting the call, it becomes an issue. God obviously has no problem with us having these things. After all, He gives them to us. But making those things a priority and downgrading Him to an option is an absolutely fatal thing to do. You can’t be placing fleeting creation over the Immortal Creator.
In any case, we already know that these things don’t follow us past the grave. So why should we place so much importance on them at the expense of the One who maintains our souls on a regular basis and will keep us, even in eternity?
It is so important that we constantly seek to ensure that He who deserves the seat on our hearts is not dethroned by anything. I know sometimes these things will tend to mess us up every now and then. Bad grades, problems at work, rocky relationships. I know how those things can shake you up and the desire to set things right. But let’s remember what Jesus said. It’s all about seeking Him and His kingdom. God takes care of His own.
If I can quickly do this, this was a reminder I was given a few days ago as I helped my mum feed the snails she’s rearing. As she took the kontomire leaves, she said she was going to wash them. She suddenly stopped and was like ‘Is it necessary to wash it for them? After all, in their natural habitat, they don’t get it washed for them.’ Then she said, ‘Oh well, when it rains, God washes it for them.’ That’s when it just dropped in my spirit. God takes care of His own.
So may there be repentance where we have esteemed God’s lawful gifts above He who gave them to us. May we remember that our foremost priority is to respond as He calls us to true joy and satisfaction. May all these gifts remain in their rightful place, and He alone be King.