Every now and again a TV tells us how amazing they are.
Some movies tell us how ridiculous they could be.
From mechanisation, to creating intelligent minds and emotional response is apparently a major test.
Sounds complex. But could they ever truly replicate the extraordinary human, with its extraordinary complexity or will they only ever be a vague but lesser reflection of what the human is?
The human being is an extraordinary array of multi-faceted needs, aspirations and creativity.
Psychologist, Abraham Maslow, was well known for listing a hierarchy of needs, from the instinct to survive to the highest forms of altruistic love. We all live in the context of these, coping, surviving, belonging, entertaining, achieving and being the typical array of goals that shape the life we live.
If you were to prioritise a few of your most special areas of life, what might you list at the top of the list?
What about the most basic needs you have?
Which ones would you never want to give up?
Humans do tend to make such decisions, generally unconsciously.
Occasionally we do become more intentional.
Yes Jesus observed this behaviour of people and he saw it relating to what he called the Kingdom.
He believed humans could aspire to qualities of extreme importance, value and satisfaction.
In our daily search for making some meaning in life we might even stumble across some experience that stood so tall above anything else we knew, that we would give up all else we had, just to embrace the knew. The typical common human example is the experience of falling in love.
Jesus examples were of someone finding a great treasure in the ground that he would go and buy the whole field in the hope that he might find even more treasure near by. Or the merchant who found a pearl of great price who would sell all others he had just to acquire this one.
Here is Jesus vision of life.
He sees the heavenly heights of experience latent within the hearts and minds of humans and his call is to inspire us to believe it and pursue it.
For him, this is the Kingdom we call Heaven on earth.
For Jesus it is the vital question.
It is to do with what we do with the gift of life we have each been blest with.
Don’t just take it for granted.
It is a gift that expects our greatest appreciation and utilisation.
Humanity needs people who maximise the quality of their life.
The Kingdom of God has left its formation in human hands.
Jesus loves inspiring us, but he’s not afraid to challenge us.
He warns his listeners today to beware of the things that keep us locked into the low level of complacency, self-satisfaction or self-interest.
Surprisingly he turns to those who know him so well: his family, his neighbours.
Familiarity can make us blind to life’s possibilities.
We’ve always done it this way so we think it’s the only way.
We’re satisfied with what we have so we decide that will do.
Everyone else we know does it this way so we settle on the same goals.
The folly of this is that such mentality makes us blind to the prophetical mind in our midst.
‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own home town’ is the way Jesus puts it.
In the middle of this passage there is another parable about a fisherman throwing out the net and taking in every kind of fish. It fits with the other part of our reading by highlighting that assessment, judgement, decisions choices are all part of life’s journey if we are to find the pathway to aspire to life’s highest echelons.
Life is to be intentional.
It’s quality is in our hands.
Yes human made robots seem impressive, but nowhere near the impressiveness of human potential and aspiration. Robots may work earthly things, but they are earthbound.
Humans are heaven on earth and we are heavenly bound.