Last week we looked at the story “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, from Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking Glass. In the story a group of oysters foolishly follow a hungry walrus and carpenter, and they are all eaten. The Walrus is crying as he eats them, and holds a handkerchief to his face; the Carpenter wants more and more – and feels no remorse. Who is the worse character?
Alice says she likes the Walrus better – because he at least felt bad. She is then told that the Walrus was using the handkerchief to hide the fact that he was taking twice as many oysters as the Carpenter. He felt bad, but did twice as much eating. Who is the worse scoundrel?
Last week I asked that question – what matters more in our character – our intentions or actions? How do we evaluate ourselves, and others?
Jesus in His masterful Sermon on the Mount gives some powerful insights into these questions. First he teaches about the Beatitudes – which are not actions as much as an outlook of the heart. Being poor, hungry, thirsty, humble, persecuted – these are the result of a heart that is bending towards the King and the Kingdom. Jesus goes further than rules and says His followers can’t just not commit adultery – but not lust, not hate, not take revenge. Jesus taught not to worry about money or the future – but to live in trust of the Lord. This is about more than action – it is about right intentions of the heart – that come out in actions. Jesus talked about actions – give to the needy, pray, fast, and build your life on His teachings – you can tell people by their fruit (actions) if they are for Him and really living for Him. But watch out! There are some who have great fruit (miracles, casting out demons) who don’t know Jesus. He calls them EVIL doers – anything we do for ourselves is not for God, the ultimate good and source of love.
Are you the Walrus or the Carpenter? Do you weep for the wrong things you do and then keep doing more and more – like the Walrus? This person believes they are saved by their heart feeling bad, and the Cross will cover them because they feel bad, but have no intention of changing. Or do you feel no remorse for what you do and only want to do more – like the Carpenter? This person thinks they are right for what they do – it is a matter of survival. They think the Cross will cover them because we all do wrong, and God knows that, and He will forgive us even if we are wrong, even if we never intend to change.
Jesus came to change us. Follow Me, I will make you fishers – I will change who you are and how you live. I will die for you to TAKE AWAY SIN – not just the punishment for sin, but sin itself – your choices against God, and your desire to go your own way. Follow Me. Surrender. Jesus changes life.
Don’t be the Walrus or the Carpenter – Follow Jesus and let Him change your character – heart and actions.