Scripture: John 2:13-22
Observation: Jesus discovers that the temple has become a marketplace, and he demands that everyone stop and remove anything they’re selling. He was intent on restoring the original purpose of the temple.
Application: I love a good life hack. My all-time favorite life hack = using my hair straightener to iron my clothes in the morning – it’s quick, it’s effective, and it’s SO much easier than heating up the iron and iron board (which, let’s be honest, is something I’ve done about three times in my whole 27 years of living).
Life hacks are the best – they’re shortcuts that save us time, money, and energy. (Seriously, check out these 55 hacks because they might just change your life – you’re welcome.) In a world full of kids and bills and jobs and to-dos, life hacks make our lives just a little bit easier, simpler, and more convenient. So there’s no problem, right?
While there’s no problem figuring out easier ways to iron our clothes or store frozen vegetables, so often we try to take shortcuts in all areas of our lives, don’t we? We try to take shortcuts in our relationships with God and with others…and somewhere along the way we miss out on the very purpose of the process.
When Jesus notices that the Temple – a place meant for worship, prayer, instruction, and sacrifice – had become an open market, he was furious. While these people were probably pretty proud of themselves for their life hack (using a place that already exists and is already full of people as a marketplace is genius, right?), Jesus was anything but impressed. He made a literal whip and let loose:
“Get these things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace.” (v. 16)
He didn’t kick them out because he was insensitive or mean or just wanted the temple to himself. He unleashed on them because he could see how sinful they had become, making the temple into something that served them rather than a place to worship the God they serve. He knew: it’s not supposed to be like this.
How often do we do the same thing? How many times do we decide we want to be served rather than to serve?
When we think about our needs constantly rather than someone else’s – it’s not supposed to be like this.
When we only talk instead of listen and ask questions – it’s not supposed to be like this.
When we treat others based on our subjective view of what they “deserve,” unwilling to extend grace – it’s not supposed to be like this.
When we start to assume the church is there to serve us, to deliver a great message and helpful teaching, while refusing to believe that we exist to serve the church – it’s not supposed to be like this.
When we chose division, gossip, slander, and jealousy over unity, encouragement, affirmation, and contentment – it’s not supposed to be like this.
Today, let’s ask the God we serve to examine our lives and show us the parts that aren’t meant to be like this. Where has our own selfishness or pride or ego gotten in the way of who God asks us to become?
Prayer: God, I come to you with a confession this morning. I know there are so many areas of my life that aren’t supposed to be the way that they are. Too often, I see the world only through my needs and desires. I pray you’ll broaden my perspective. Help me make you the center of everything. Amen.