I grew up in a very Catholic community. My mother had shifted from Catholicism to being a part of the ‘Jesus People’ movement of the late 70’s and early 80’s.
I remember visiting Catholic churches with large crucifixes containing the image of Jesus dying on the cross. My mother would explain that we looked to an empty cross, a symbol that Christ concurred death and paid the price for our salvation.
A large part of this movement left believers longing for the day that Christ would return. I myself have cried in vain during periods of depression, begging God to just come now and end this living hell.
But recently, I’ve been having those views challenged. Up until now I’ve spent my days longing for His return, hoping that my children will not have to spend their whole lives in this infernal place.
For me, rather than daydreaming about eternal chocolate sundaes and worship, I’ve been introduced to the idea of bringing that celestial location down to terra firma. And even more challenging, raising my children to do the same.
Let’s face it, this world can suck. Big time.
But am I not also a part of its current state?
It can be so easy for us as Christians to focus intently on Jesus’ 3 years of ‘ministry’. But what about the rest of His time on this planet?
Sure the Bible doesn’t say a ton about those years, other than to say that he grew in wisdom and knowledge. But I’m pretty sure he was not secluded from any other living being.
As an adult, I can see times in my life where I have been called to a certain ministry. Does that mean that once engaged in that ministry the entirety of my previous years are no longer worth anything?
Before I became involved in women’s ministries I was involved in children’s ministry. I’ve also spent time ministering to teen parents and teens in general.
My point is that Jesus did not just start ministering to people at the age of 30. From what we know of his character I would venture to guess he did not intentionally avoid helping someone in the same way that you or I do.
The only reason we separate His time in ministry is because of how much it differed to the ministry we are able to provide to those around us. Like say, turning water into wine.
If I’m going to emulate Christ, I need to not only try to emulate the part of Him that we view as ‘God’, but also the part of Him that was ‘man’.
As a man, Jesus worked. He was a laborer and with a laborer husband I can only imagine how much harder that would have been 2000 years ago.
So. Where am I going here. (yes, a statement, not a question. Just because)
Our current church culture has people looking for fame. There is a lot of stinkin’ vanity in the church. A lot.
As a blogger, I could totally get sucked into this. I have actually (obviously to no avail, but still, my heart was in the wrong place).
There are all these books and blogs and speakers trying to help Christian leaders build a platform. To become known in the Christian community. To be the most popular kid on the block.
I love when Halter says in his book Flesh, “Everyone wants to have influence. We count Facebook fans, Google circles, and Twitter followers. We measure Sunday church attendance and yearly budget numbers, all the while thinking we are creating our own wave. The multitude that followed Jesus was more than willing to speed up His influence and make Him the leader they wanted. But Jesus knew that real influence could be gained only as people were made into disciples one by one.”
Talk about convicting!
This is what matters. This is all that is important.
Jesus the Savior is important, don’t get me wrong. But the other 90% of Jesus’ life was spent as Jesus the friend. Jesus, the neighbor. Jesus, the guy that buys figs at that stand down the street.
And since I’m 99.99% sure that I’m not going to be able to take that Savior position, I should probably focus on the other part of Jesus that I can attain. The part that I’m pretty sure He wants me to fill.
How About You?
What part of Jesus are you trying to live out?
Have a great Easter!