Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sitting By

"And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by..." Luke 5:17 (KJV)

Sunday afternoon I had opportunity to chat with a very dear friend. Easily, four months had passed since our last conversation, yet after only a few brief minutes of 'catch up' regarding our families, conversation turned to the sharing of God's Word and to truths we were currently applying in our lives. With my Bible open on my lap, she and I traced God's goodness and promises. We talked of the 'new Word' he had spoken into our hearts. We shared doubts and fears. There was no idle chatter. Eternal matters were the topic. Our hearts were burning within us to do more than listen, for living is our lot.

In the verse above we see the posture of passivity. The Pharisees were "sitting by" while Jesus was teaching. Matthew Henry writes, "How many are there in the midst of our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, that do not sit under the Word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent them; they are willing that we should preach before them, but not that we should preach to them."

Beth Moore questions: "Can you recall a time when you attended a Bible study or church service that profoundly affected a few of the people you were with, while others in attendance were completely unmoved? Like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, sometimes the unaffected can be the most 'religious' people in the room. Could the difference be that they were sitting by rather than sitting under God's Word?"

In Beth's book, "Jesus the One and Only", she encourages the reader to sit under God's mercy instead of sitting by with a critical eye. She writes, "If you will actively engage yourself in every message you hear or read, you will never hear or read another ineffective message."

Where are you positioning yourself? It's not so much a physical location, but a spirit's surrender. Think of the foyer conversation you indulge in at the close of Sunday's sermons. Do your words reflect the passion of one who has longingly sat 'under' the revelation of God's Word or impatiently sat 'by', checking your watch to see the time, oblivious to the miraculous? Words are falling around you, but not within you. Don't be satisfied with less when God wants to give you more. Sitting by makes you an observer. Sitting under makes you a participant.

What Word has He revealed to you that requires action today? Don't be caught 'sitting by'. Do something!

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Lutiemom said...

Wow! Simply, Wow! I am in total agreement with you. Yet, I have never really thought about it this way. I need to read this passage again and read what God put on your heart to digest it and remember it.
Thanks for sharing,

Sheryl said...

Thank you so much for your post. You are so right. There are times when I am sitting under a teacher who is bringing God's Word and it just sits there for me. Other times I soak it all in.

Lately I have been asking God to give me eyes that see the truth and ears that hear and act on the truth. I know this is His will so He answers a big YES to that request.


Zoe Elmore said...

Your wonderful encouraging comments on my blog were just what I needed to hear! I need to destroy those ugly old records!
You my friend are WONDERFUL!!!

~Grace and Peace said...

Thank you for sharing these nuggets of wisdom that you find in your daily readings. I would have just read that passage, not have second thoughts about the word "sitting by" and missed the whole lesson.

Thank you for your faithfulness.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Your comment that "sometimes the unaffected can be the most 'religious' people in the room" is SO true! And sadly sometimes I have been that person! It's a ditch that 'religious' people can fall into so easily. But not one that I enjoy or want to stay in!

Thanks for today's lesson! Mississippi

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Great post, Joy! I want to sit under the truth, rather than sitting by it. I need to be more deliberate about the teaching moments when they come and be willing to receive a "word" despite the venue from which is issues.

Hope all is well.