|Early assembly line picture... I couldn't find anything better!|
It was about 1990 and I was working in a seatbelt factory on the assembly line. We worked on the line that did rails- that’s the kind of seatbelts that run back and forth in the door frame and automatically move over you when you close the door. There were a few of us on the line. The last person put on the bracket with the screws, washers, lock washers and such, then we hit the button and a machine came down to push the retaining washers on to keep everything together. Generally, that last job kept the production at a slower rate because of all the fine finger work.
Most people hated that job because people would complain about how slow you were or because it was a stressful job when they expected so many per minute and most could not keep up. When I finally got to try the position, and because I am an efficiency freak, I had to figure out how to do it better. It was all so slow and awkward. By the end of my first shift I had moved things around to work better. Now able to efficiently use two hands, I cut the time needed to do the job and soon I was waiting for parts and the line could not keep up with me. My different way of doing things was better- it increased production and was less stressful.
When Jesus began His ministry at about 30 yrs, He was not what was expected of the Messiah. The Jews thought he was coming to save them as a people from their oppressors, but He was really coming to show them the way of salvation. Along with the salvation message, He taught them things few else did- in fact, it was so different that the religious people of the day would often get angry with Him. The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is one of those teachings that went against what society generally thinks to do. This teaching was to His disciples, in other words, believers. Here are some things I think about:
Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (v.20)
-The poor are probably blessed because they are forced
to trust / rely on God for even basic survival.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (v.21)
-How different from the church today as many think we
should never be poor (as a beggar), hungry or sad or
Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall cut you off, and when they shall reproach you and shall cast out your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. (v.22)
-We should expect men: to detest us (not because of
our foolishness or sin though),
separate from our company,
defame or taunt us,
are harmful or devise mischief
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. For behold, your reward is great in Heaven… (v.23)
But woe to you who are rich! For you have received your consolation. (v.24)
-Hmmm… He’s still talking to His disciples- woe to the rich? Could it be because the rich are living in excess while their fellow believers struggle to survive?
Woe to you who are full! For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now! For you shall mourn and weep. (v.25)
Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you! For so their fathers did to the false prophets. (v.26)
-If ALL men speak well of us then probably we aren’t standing up (vocally or physically) for righteousness, truth and Jesus because that tends to make others mad at us.
(stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2)