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Jesus Transforms Our Wishful Thinking

In CT magazine, author and podcaster Jen Wilkins writes:

It was a typical Friday night at the Wilkin house. A spontaneous dinner had collected a growing number of neighbors and friends. As the kitchen swelled with people and chatter, I leaned over to each of my kids and whispered the code they were probably expecting: “FHB.”

Family hold back. Maybe you know this strategy, too. Surveying the food relative to the guests, it became apparent that we needed a non-miraculous solution for our five loaves and two fishes. My husband prayed over the meal and then, quietly, the Wilkins slipped to the back of the line, serving themselves minimal portions to stretch the food. They knew they wouldn’t go without; it was not a matter of if they would eat but when. Worst case, we’d order a pizza once the guests had gone home.

Nobody wants to be at the end of the line. Given the choice, we want to go first, to get the full portion, to sit in the most comfortable chair. But Christ-followers understand that life is about more than doing what we want. It’s about doing what we wish. Let me explain.

We can all imagine times when we wanted to be treated better, when we longed for more care, recognition, and grace than we received from others. We are not wrong to hold these wishes. They illustrate the basic human need to be known, loved, and accepted. And what we do with how we feel about our wishes, met and unmet, will shape the course of our lives. To that end, Jesus invites us to live lives directed by wishful thinking, though not in the way we might anticipate: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12, ESV).

Put simply, Jesus tells us to do what we wish. Thinking about our own wish list, we then act accordingly toward others. We give the encouragement we wish we had received…and serve as we wish to be served. We step to the end of the line. We move to the least comfortable chair. We defer what we wish for ourselves and instead secure it for others.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Every day we look for ways to do what we wish others would do for us. It’s easier to take the smaller portion when you know the lack is only temporary. This world is flat-out starving for kindness and decency. It is ravenous for meaning and purpose, and we are just the family to invite them to the table. Do it as Christ did for you.

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