Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house. (Luke 6:46-49 NRSV)
I rarely call Jesus ‘Lord’ and maybe there is an inner reason for that. I am much more comfortable calling Jesus my friend, my guide, or my savior. When I pray with Jesus, I envision him as a loving presence who cares for me, understands me, forgives me, and wants to help me. Jesus IS all of these- but Jesus should be the Lord of my life, too.
A Lord is one who has power and authority over others. As our Lord, Jesus has directed us to do some tough things. Obeying Jesus means to live in a way that goes against our nature, that stretches our comfort level, that calls us beyond our plans and dreams, that even requires us to surrender our way of being in the world. Follow him. Love our enemies. Turn the other cheek. Give our possessions away. Forgive many times. Seek the kingdom of God. Don’t worry. Deny ourselves.
We don’t always want to do what Jesus tells us to do. So, we begin this Lenten season by receiving the sign of the cross, marked in ash across our heads. Ash Wednesday reminds us of our selfishness, our forgetfulness, and our inattentiveness as we live this present kingdom of God. The day also reminds us that our earthly bodies will one day become dust. We are reminded that we have not made Jesus the Lord of our lives- and reminded how much we NEED Jesus to be the Lord of our lives!
Making Jesus the Lord of our lives can and will be difficult at times. But in this passage, we learn that the things he calls us to do are part of his love, his deep understanding of us, and his desire to help us through this life. The more we listen and obey Jesus, the more we will have a solid rock to stand on or cling to when earthly trials set in. The more we become less of ourselves and more of Christ, we participate in the kingdom living that takes us beyond our worldly cares and preoccupations. These tough commands really are his truest words of tender love and pure guidance for our daily living.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus asks, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?”
What words of Jesus have you been ignoring? When have you asked Jesus for help but continued to do your own thing? Of the things Jesus tells us to do, which are the most difficult for you? Do you easily notice when others fail to obey Jesus while disregarding your own selfish will? Is Jesus truly the Lord of your life?
Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I tell you?
(For additional reflection, you may want to dwell with this question, perhaps even pulling it out of context, as you invite Jesus to ask you directly and personally.)