I’ve been thinking this week about the way we think. Jesus said in Matthew 5:43, “You’ve heard it said…” and he went on about what the law had to say. And then he said, “But I say to you…” and he offered a different way to think.
Jesus knew that if he could affect the way we think…he could affect the way we act. The goal? “Love God with all that you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31).
When it comes to following Jesus we complain sometimes because we don’t have Jesus physically to follow. We can’t see him so if we’re not careful we can have this disconnect with him. The disciples were concerned about that in John’s Gospel too, and Jesus told them that after he went away that he would still be with them to teach and remind them through the Holy Spirit (John 14:25).
But what I’ve learned over time is that if we’re wondering which way Jesus went and complaining because we can’t physically see him, the Holy Spirit is nudging us in the direction of people, poor people, rich people, and all of those in between…
The sick mentally, physically, the alien the widow the orphan, the ones that don’t always act or look like we think they ought to act or look. The ones who are neglected, used and abused in whatever way imaginable. Those who are different from us, those who think differently than we do. We can be fairly sure that Jesus went by the way of these, and if we’re listening we might have heard Jesus say, “Follow me.”
It’s really not difficult to find Jesus and follow him:
Follow the path of love…Jesus is up ahead somewhere comforting those who mourn, laughing with those who laugh, interacting with those who others look down on.
Follow the way of Mercy…we’ll find Jesus washing the feet of sinners, feeding 5,000 somewhere, welcoming children or giving spiritual healing to those who show faith.
Follow the way of Grace…Jesus will slow down a bit as he forgives for the 147th time. We will find him in prayer interceding for the likes of us, or walking along opening the Scriptures for someone who finally sets their mind on finding out for themselves who this Jesus actually is.
Finding Jesus is not difficult really – just look for people in need all up and down social and financial ladders…engage people where they hurt, where they are broken, and where they are in need. Scripture shows that Jesus goes by way of these.
I read this in my devotions this morning:
“New insights and developments continually challenge our understanding of life and our experience of God. Yet if we see the spiritual life as a journey, these cycles of challenge will not alarm us or turn us aside from our primary goal – to know and love God.” Reuben P. Job
I read a story today that will probably wind up in the sermon on Sunday. It had to do with giving a gift and part of the gift was the effort through which it was given.
And I began to think about all that we do to offer Jesus to other people in whatever forms we offer – food, clothes, money, bills paid, compassion in any other form we can think of – I began to think of those things as gifts, the offer of Jesus to hurting and fearful souls.
And sometimes we get really tired from our efforts, and often times we feel like what we do doesn’t matter…our effort seems to pale in comparison to what we have to offer.
But what I’m starting to think is that if we could somehow see our effort as part of the gift maybe we could stay more focused on the task to offer Jesus. The gift is Jesus, but part of the gift is being poured out in service.
Just some thoughts this evening….
This month has been a whirlwind – I’ll tell you about it later. But I have found over the course of the month that it is so much more difficult to practice what we preach when it comes to patience, anxiety, not worrying, trusting, wondering how in the world life will work out in general. It is so easy to know and even say that we understand all of that, but it’s another thing to put those things into practice.
I have found that it takes an intentional effort to stay close to Jesus and to recall my own experiences with him in order to keep a sane mind. And I have to put into practice what I know to be true – that I can have conversation with Jesus, I can trust him, I can call on him.
And in the process of that I realize that I have to put into action what I know to be true. As James said in his letter:
“Don’t just know the Word…put it into practice.”
What that does is twofold. It helps us maintain our own spiritual and mental health, and it shows those around that we don’t just know about Jesus, we have experienced him first hand, and we try our best to do what he says – our influence then, becomes credible and lives are affected for the Kingdom.
Just some thoughts this morning…
|Jim on August 6, 2017|
|Bart on August 6, 2017|
|Jim on July 21, 2017|
|Bart on July 21, 2017|
|Jim on June 28, 2017|