To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
“‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’
Matthew 11 : 16 – 17
In Jesus’s day children would all play in the streets, and it’s thought that, like modern children, they would copy the things that adults did in their play. So they would mimic the festivities, funeral processions and celebrations they saw their parents do and play make-believe games. But as with all children’s play it would routinely devolve in to arguments and squabbling, and as they played in public, it would be on display for all to see.
Jesus described the people of his generation as being like those squabbling children, having petty arguments with each other for all to see. Jesus often talks positively about the example of children, but here he is making the comparison to highlight the immaturity of the people around them. The religious elites of their day thought they were mighty and important, but in reality they had all the wrong priorities so looked like petulant children.
It’s important for us to take a step back every now and again and look at the things that we’re focusing on. Often we find that what seemed really important to us, from a distance looks really petty and unimportant. When that happens all we can do is humbly admit we were being childish and refocus ourselves on what’s important.
Prayer: Lord, help me to have the right priorities. Allow me to see where I’ve been focusing on the wrong things and give me the wisdom so see where I should really be devoting my time and attention.
Action: Have a think about all the things that are on your plate today. Choose 1 thing that you think you should focus on and choose 1 thing that isn’t important to drop.