14th May 2018

Private Thoughts 

“He said to himself…”
Luke 7:39 (NRSV)

Another title for this Day by Day could be: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45 NIV). The heart is where private thoughts are stored. They can be good or bad.

In the header scripture we break into a Pharisee’s private thoughts. Simon, the Pharisee, was having a dinner party and Jesus was one of the guests. Also there was a woman of rather dubious reputation. Simon “said to himself…” That probably means that he thought it. Maybe he muttered under his breath, but he certainly did not expect anyone to know what he was thinking.

Don’t we do that all the time? We form opinions about people that we keep to ourselves. Probably some of you are doing just that while you are reading this article. Anyway Simon had his thoughts about two people there and neither thought was very nice. The first was of the woman. He despised her because of her reputation. The second was of Jesus. He had a reputation for being a holy man, but He didn’t seem to be behaving much like one if He allowed her to treat Him in the way she did.

Simon misjudged Jesus. Jesus could perceive what other people were thinking. He felt his host needed a bit of correction but He didn’t want to show him up before all his guests. So He told him a parable.

Simon did not realise that the parable was intended for him so he gave Jesus just the answer He was expecting. Jesus was drawing Simon’s attention to his shortcomings. He explained the parable quite simply (Luke 7:40-48): how she showed Jesus the depth of love that was in her heart, whereas Simon didn’t think of showing Jesus even the basic courtesies normally offered to a guest, possibly because he had so many other guests to welcome.

There is so much here that God wants to teach us. He wants us to learn that we should try and avoid the temptation of thinking thoughts that put other people down. If we don’t, Jesus will probably want to draw our attention to this failing. He might do it by quietly bringing to our awareness someone whose own behaviour shows us the better way. Or it might be from something we read in the Bible or from what we hear in a sermon. But if we still don’t get the message we might hear someone who really knows us saying to us ‘this not the sort of thing that someone in your position ought to be thinking.’

Our private thoughts are not really private, not to God anyway. Let’s please Him by exercising more control over them.

Prayer
Lord, I am so grateful that You have given me a precious gift – a mind to think with. May I listen to Your correction whenever I misuse it. In Jesus’ name
Amen
 

Study by Cristopher Reeve

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About the Author:
Christopher Reeve is assistant pastor of the Invicta (Blean) Congregation near Canterbury, which is part of Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God UK, where his wife, Hilary accompanies him.

Local Congregation:
Invicta Fellowship
Blean Village Hall
School Lane
Blean
CANTERBURY
CT2 9JA

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11.30 a.m.

Local Congregational Contact:
Mrs Annette Woods
Phone: 07473 188326
Email: annettewoods2@nhs.net