We often have difficulty judging the events in our lives and then responding appropriately. Although God has placed eternity “in our hearts,” we don’t know the reason or the outcome of our life’s events (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
The danger comes in being known for only one mode of operation and one response for all seasons. In Matthew 11, Jesus speaks to a generation who responds in one way—with skepticism and unbelief. Those who judge see John the Baptist as a demon-possessed man rather than a prophet. They see Jesus as a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners—not the one who has come to save them from their sins.
Jesus illustrates their responses with a tale. He compares them to children who call out to each other in the marketplaces, saying, “We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a lament and you did not mourn” (Matthew 11:17). Those who hear and fail to act confuse the writer of Ecclesiastes’ times of mourning and dancing. They don’t acknowledge the judgment of John the Baptist or the joy of Jesus.
For those in His audience who refused to acknowledge His words, and miracles, Jesus pronounces a judgment far worse than that of Sodom. Those who respond with humility and faith, however, have the promise of rest. Jesus invites them: “Take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
This response is an act of faith. We need to rely on God’s Word and His Spirit to judge the events of our lives, and to help us respond with faith.