LEA Weekly Devotion
New Word / Old Word series 2013–2014
June 30, 2014
New Word: cell yell
Old Word: “The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:11–13 MSG).
Cell yell needs no formal treatment from Merriam-Webster. You’ve experienced it. (Hmmm, maybe you’ve been a guilty party too?) Makes one long for the telephone- booth days, when the caller shut himself in a skinny booth to call someone in privacy. Or to check the coin return. Or to fiddle with a fractured phone. At least the booth protected the public from the resultant angry exclamations!
Had the Pharisee had access to a cell phone, he undoubtedly would have been a cell yeller. He could be sure everyone within (long-distance) earshot would know his best business and behavior.
You would never be like that.
You keep your private prayers private and your public prayers spoken with confidence that God hasn’t suffered hearing loss. You are humble about your faith, especially since you know how it came about. You don’t brag about your exemplary worship attendance nor do you launch into “Pomp and Circumstance” to announce that you’re a wonderful, merciful, and sacrificial church worker. And you never would keep company with Pharisees.
One need not shout and strut their prayers to fit the Pharisee mold, however. (There’s a pun in there somewhere.) Church workers may be especially prone to unintended attributes of Pharisees. It happens easily enough.
You would never be like that.
Well, maybe sometimes. But not on purpose.
A “religious attitude” is natural among church workers. It’s who you are and what you think as well as what you do. It’s reflected in how you talk to people and how you react to situations, especially serious situations that involve spiritual matters. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But then there is this: Spiritual matters cover everything.
And this: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom. 12:3 ESV).
In other words, many of those whom you serve or with whom you regularly interact are Christians who may not reflect the same degree of piety as yours. They may even be rough or vulgar or worldly. They seem to turn on and off, depending on the situation.
They are the kind of people with whom Jesus interacted. Or, to put it bluntly, they may not be as good a Christian as you. But…
“I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him” (also Rom. 12:3 but in MSG).
Now there is something worth a cell yell!
Written by Edward Grube, LL.D.
Director of Publications & Communications
© 2014 Lutheran Education Association
Scripture quotations identified as MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. Scripture quotations identified as ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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