What better way to end an email, or a postcard than with a little snippet of one of Jesus’ sayings…Am I right? They end up on billboards and greeting cards and office calendars and, well, everywhere. …and yet, for some reason, I doubt this past weeks’ reading ever will make it as a greeting card snippet. It’s the one where Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” You can read more in Luke 14 if you like.
And as lovely as “hate your dad and mom,” makes for a lovely Father’s day greetings card, it probably won’t ever be published. I mean “…Hate your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters…” isn’t exactly something that is an easy pill to swallow. And so most of us in the church end up doing one of two things with this text: We either equate this to Jesus having a bad day; maybe he just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and he didn’t really mean it –OR- We believe that Jesus meant seriously hate family, cut and dried, and done and done!
But what if there is another way of reading this? I mean Luke is pretty pro-family, and also if scripture is scripture, we got to take it seriously, right?
So we get to dive back into Genesis where Jacob has two wives. Rachel, who was like his all and all (He worked 14 years just to marry her) and Leah, who Jacob was tricked into marrying and for which Jacob didn’t really have the same sort of love. And scripture says, “…Leah that was ‘hated…” That’s the word that’s used. The question is, did Jacob ‘hate’ Leah in the way that we think of hate –or- did Jacob give his best and first love only to Rachel, and Leah got, well, the leftovers?
There’s another reference in Deut. 21, if you feel like looking there – but the point is, (at least for me) that we get to give God our first and best and utmost, and then everything else in life comes after. God is the one we love with all our heart and before our own folks, our own kids, our own partner, or our very selves. God comes before all of these!
Now is this easy? Nope! (at least not for me.)
It is also God’s hope for us, and our call as disciples! We get to give of all of who we are for God, who has already given all of who he is for us!