As I read about the last days of Jesus in the gospels, we often find the disciples quarantined so to speak. At times they were hiding from the world out of fear after the crucifixion. Another time they were sequestered in a room expectantly waiting the Holy Spirit. In each of these times God moved in the hearts of the disciples through the absence of busyness and activity. This inactivity forced them to face their fears and future refocusing them on the author of their faith instead of the task at hand. I have been a champion of the concept we can never fully do what Jesus calls us to do until we first become who Jesus calls us to be.
Too many of us are have difficulty not being “busy” because unwittingly we have shifted from finding our identity in Christ to what we do for Christ. Our importance comes from our accomplishments of service instead of our devotion in love. Do not miss an opportunity of quiet reflection. I guess if Jesus who had a much bigger task for the world then I do took time to draw away, up to forty days at times, maybe I am not so important that the world can survive without my flurry of activity for a bit.
If the disciples are a good example, their most productive times for Jesus happened after these periods of intimacy and quiet with Him.
Can the same be true for us?
I had the privilege in 2004 to have Brennan Manning be the keynote speaker at my ordination. I knew little of him at the time. As this unassuming man prayed over me, I knew he had something that was authentic and desirable. I have never interacted personally with him again but have gotten to know his heart through his writing and witness. Here at Easter time I am sharing this snippet from his book that I am currently reading. I pray we all catch and adopted his passion to be authentic, unvarnished and laser focused followers of Jesus.
“The Signature of Jesus, the Cross, is the ultimate expression of God’s love for the world. The church is the church of the crucified, risen Christ only when it is stamped with His signature; only when it faces outward and moves with Him along the way of the cross. Turned inward upon itself in bickering and theological hairsplitting, the church loses its identity and mission.
At the dawning of the twenty-first century, what separates the committed from the uncommitted is the depth and quality of our love for Jesus Christ. The superficial among us build bigger barns in the euphoria of a prosperity gospel; the trendy follow the latest fad trying to hum their way to heaven; the defeated are haunted by ghosts from the past.
But the victorious minority, unintimidated by the cultural patterns of the lock-stepping majority, live and celebrate as though Jesus were near – near in time and near in place – the witness of our motives, our speech and our behavior. As indeed He is.”
The Signature of Jesus – The call to a life marked by holy passion and relentless faith by Brennan Manning
Executive Director, CSI Ministries