I am not a fan of blueberries. I will admit that if there’s a fruit salad, I’ll try my best to not grab too many blueberries with the serving spoon. I pick out the bits and pieces that I like and leave the blueberries for those who like blueberries, or for those who happen to approach the bowl after I took all the good stuff. Sometimes that means someone gets stuck with a lot of blueberries.
The problem with picking out the bits and pieces is you then do not get all of the benefits of the fruit salad. In the same way, we cannot pick out bits and pieces of God’s Word and think that is enough. Too often people want to select particular passages, certain beliefs, only some things to live by, only certainly things to follow, and leave the rest. Everyone loves grace. Everyone loves blessings. But God’s Word speaks of things like obedience, humility, sacrifice, loving those who hate you, and judgment.
If you are opening your Bible only looking for bits and pieces of what works for you, I pray that you will come to see that the Bible is not a bag of trail mix where you pick out what you like. God’s Word, every single word of the Bible, is amazing. Let us be grateful for each bit, each piece, every single word. Psalm 63 is one of my favorite. Read it right now and pray for that thirst of which the Psalmist speaks.
“One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.” – Romans 16:17-18 [MSG]
Today’s passage can teach us so much. Jesus knew that this man was clinging too tightly to his money. He tried to show the man that He could offer him something greater than temporal riches, true riches in heaven. The rich man found this difficult to hear and he could not do as Jesus commanded.
Notice what happens next. You do not read about Jesus changing what was demanded of this fellow. He didn’t say, “Yeah, I know that money means a lot to you so you go ahead and keep half. You don’t have to give everything away. Just give half.” Jesus did not do that. There were no negotiations. He did not change or adapt to give someone a more appealing offer to accept. That is never the case.
So then the question is why do we try to glamorize Jesus and change His Word so that people will make the choice to accept Him? Why do we try to lure people to be Christians with half truths and PowerPoint Presentations that entertain while misrepresenting? At the end of the day, what they are accepting is not Jesus. They are accepting the comfortable; cake-on-a-plate Christianity you show them, that will be so cherry picked the truth cannot be recognized. Jesus does not need you to make Him appealing. There should be no negotiations. Just show them Jesus.
“One day one of the local officials asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?’ Jesus said, ‘Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.’ He said, ‘I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.’ When Jesus heard that, he said, ‘Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go. Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, ‘Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.’”
-Luke 18:18-25 [MSG]