Jesus was speaking of John the Baptist, asking people why it was that they wouldn’t listen to him. Why wouldn’t they listen to his message? He said that, instead, they were people that would neither dance nor mourn. Their generation would play the music but there was no response whatsoever:
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.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.Matthew 11:16-19
How similar is this to our generation of today? We are so distracted by so many different things that I wonder sometimes if we can even hear the music that is being played. God is playing the music and he calls us to dance for joy, but we don’t listen and so we don’t dance. We don’t respond and we have no joy.
On the other hand, God calls us to respond in repentance. He plays a dirge and yet we can’t hear that either. We don’t even know when it is time to be sad and mourn. We think that our bank account must grow, or we think that our pleasure must increase, so we focus on these things and we never hear the dirge that God is playing. We never repent and come to Him.
Like the generation that Jesus describes, we prefer to throw criticisms. We prefer to think about how right we are, and in our pride we maintain our own righteousness. We are as foolish as the people of Jesus’s day, and yet we think that we are wise and learned, and advanced as we look into the mirror and declare ourselves to be great.
God help us to break out of the prevailing current of our generation. Let us be a people who seek after you, who look to you, who run after you. Let us be a people who dance to the music that you play for us.