Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time With Jesus

“A woman named Martha welcomed him (Jesus) into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work myself? Tell her then to help me.”

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted about many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42). 

Time with Jesus. Essentially, when Jesus spoke to Martha, he said, “this is what Mary wants so this is what she gets, and no one will be taking it away from her.” 

When I read this story, the questions I take away are, “What exactly was this gift? Can I have it too? And what would it look like? 

Is it only his words in the Bible? That’s good and more people ought to do that, but is that all? Isn't there some way I can actually spend time with the actual presence of Christ?

You know, I have a list of people that I want to simply spend time with. Not do something with, just BE with. Special ones—family and friends, and those I would like to get to know. And since I’m dreaming I think of people in the past. And then people of the future—generations of children who have yet to arrive on the scene.

I want to sit and talk. Ask questions. Share thoughts. I want to give and receive encouragement. I want to talk about my dreams and hear theirs. And I want to put my arms around them—if they’d let me. 

That’s what I wish for when I think of spending time with Jesus. I don’t want just words on a page. I want the real thing, to sit near him, hear his words to me, have him listen to me, to hear that he loves me, to exchange hugs with him. You know, actually BE with Jesus. 

Is Jesus saying I could have this and be secure that it would not be taken away? And how do I claim it? Is it really a matter to setting aside my other concerns and focusing on him? That’s not so easy, but it’s not impossible. Could it be… simple? 

I guess we could work on it and see. But to be honest, it hasn't seemed all that simple.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fish, Bread, and Honey

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

What do you expect of God?

Tell the truth. Haven’t many of us expected God to withhold pleasant gifts because we think HE thinks it would be bad for us?  And don’t many of us think that God puts us through unpleasant, even awful things, and expects us to thank Him for loving us enough to discipline us?

We expect snakes and stones, and force ourselves say we’re thankful for them. We hate to say it but we think God is mean and expects us to be grateful about it.  

I wonder how life would be if we saw God as the Good Shepherd, who lets us lie in green pastures by still waters.  How would we pray to a God who delights in our company and longs to give us the desires of our hearts? 

I know. All this sounds good, but how do we explain all those awful things that happen to us? If God is so sweet, why is life so bitter? 

I think of how God once provided honey on the ground to sustain Israel’s army, but King Saul ordered them not to eat any until they had done their jobs.  (1 Samuel 14:24-25).

Perhaps instead of explaining why bad things happen to good people, we could look for the honey on the ground that we are denying ourselves. There are hard tasks to be done, but good things to be enjoyed along the way.  Don’t miss them.

Ask for bread. Eat the fish. Look for honey.