Where The Heart Relies – A Contemporary Parable

Two mothers within blocks of each other on a Sunday morning helped their kids through the morning routine in preparation for a worship service. Perhaps it is ironic that these families would be headed toward the same building, for although they would sing the same songs, participate in the same prayers, and listen to the same sermon, their hearts sought relational security with God from vastly different sources.
If someone could have peered into their hearts, images of Jesus’ tale about a Pharisee and a tax collector would have sprung to life. Both sinner and “saint” had gone through the same rituals of prayer at the Temple, but the contrast could not have been more dramatic. The Pharisee’s confidence rested upon himself to have done everything just right, while the sinner, who also went through the right ritual, threw himself upon God’s mercy to restore his spiritual relationship. Jesus had shocked his listeners by concluding that it was the sinner, not the “saint,” who had gone home justified. In a similar manner, while both women assembled to worship the right God in the right manner and had been baptized with the right baptism, the confidence of one woman rested upon her ability to have done everything right while the other’s reliance was placed upon God as she worshipped obediently.
Pendulums are known to oscillate from one extreme to another. So too, one day the self-righteous mother realized the error of her way. Declaring herself free from her former slavish devotion to doing things in the right way and claiming a new sense of freedom, she launched out to serve God under the tutelage of what seemed right to her.
What does a story like this tell me? To abandon biblical ways might just reveal that the wrong object of faith has been replaced by serving the wrong will. Realizing that our confidence should be in Christ does not release us from serving God in biblical ways.

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