It Takes a Village

November 2, 2020

But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon!” The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds (Matthew 11:16-19).

Each generation has its own distinct characterization. I am a ‘Baby Boomer’ because I was born after World War 2 when the soldiers came home from war and families were re-establishing themselves. Since then we have had the ‘Baby Busters’, Gen Xers, and Millennials. In this text, Jesus characterized His generation as the ‘Inconsistent and Fickle’. 

Children love to play games, often mimicking things adults do. They ‘play house’, ‘play Cowboys and Indians’, etc. Here Jesus said people were like children - nothing pleased them. They ‘played wedding’ with all the music and singing. No one would participate. Then they ‘played funeral’ with sad music and mourning, but again no one would participate. Flighty. Temperamental. Inconsistent.

They treated John the Baptizer that way. He was a great prophet, and he was a rabble-rouser. He was a powerful preacher, and he was a meddler. They treated Jesus the same way. He was a great teacher, and He was a heretic. He was the Messiah, and He was a demon. John was a Nazarite - neither eating fine foods, drinking wine, disassociating himself from society, etc. and the people were dissatisfied with him. Jesus associated with sinners as well as with non-sinners, He drank wine, He attended dinner parties, etc. and the people were dissatisfied with Him. Flighty. Temperamental. Inconsistent.

What are we to learn from this? Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. By this Jesus meant though that generation of Pharisees and fault-finders did not appreciate the conduct of John and Himself, the ‘wise’ the ‘candid’, and those who understood the reasons of their conduct - would approve of and do justice to it. In other words, those whom God has given the gift of wisdom are able to discern and approve both the austerity of the highly disciplined man of God and the loving compassion of the gentle and meek man of God. 

The same holds true today. Christians have all types of characteristics that make them unique. There is room in the Kingdom for the conventional and unconventional Christian. Some will be a ‘Paul’, some will be a ‘Timothy’.

“Father, help me to understand and accept brothers and sisters for who they are. Help me to realize that we are to strive for unity in the Spirit, not necessarily uniformity. It takes all types of Christians to spread the Gospel of Jesus. May we come to appreciate that even more so today. To the glory and honor of Jesus I ask, Amen.”


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