Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Little Brown Church In The Vale"1 (Lyrics)
When I taught children of Wycliffe Bible Translator personnel in the Peruvian highlands in South America, the children would pick the raisins from their recess snack cookies and drop them into the grass saying that they didn't like raisins.
To me these raisins were especially tasty, trucked up fresh from the Pacific coastlands where the climate was very good for grape growing.
I was determined to discover whether the children of several families truly did not like raisins, or if they had just picked up and shared an idea that they didn't like raisins.
Families working at the high Andean Wycliffe "Center" in Huaraz frequently shared potluck suppers for birthdays, anniversaries, or calendar holidays.
Just before a potluck supper, I quickly chopped lots of raisins fine and baked a batch of oatmeal-raisin cookies. After the main course, a group of children stood around a side-table bearing an assortment of desserts, happily gobbling cookies. A mother came to me saying, "The children sure like your cookies. What did you put in them?" "Chopped raisins," I told her the truth. "Raisins!" she exclaimed, "The children have never liked raisins!" I said, "I chopped them very fine."
Not only children, but also adults, tend to say and act upon less than whole truths. The New Testament of the Bible records instances of Jesus teaching people to act upon whole truth.
Jesus began each of a set of these teachings by saying, "You have heard …" or "It has been said … But I tell you … ."
Matthew 5:21-22a – You have heard that it has been said to the people long ago, "Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment." But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. (NIV)
Matthew 5:27-28 – You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery." But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:31-32 – It has been said, "Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce." But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Jesus taught full truths straightforwardly, not even cut fine, but as whole, ripe fruit, to be savoured and digested with joy — and with repentance, for Jesus said, "I tell you … unless you repent, you too will all perish" (Luke 13:5). And as the apostle Paul taught in the Spirit of Jesus, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…" (Romans 3:23). Still that's not the full truth, for Paul continued, "… and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).
Let us continue to search out whole truths from the Scriptures.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for saying, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). Thank You for the privilege of repenting and being justified and reconciled, Lord, to You. Help us to seek out whole truths from Your Word. Please enable us to live them, and to be bold to speak them whenever You give us opportunity, for Your sake. Amen.