At senior high Bible study on Tuesday morning, I decided to let the word be written / read instead of spoken / heard. Here is what the students read:
Look at these pictures (from http://www.episcopalcafe.com/art/art/):
So, I’m wondering what the first thing is that you see when you look at either one of these pictures. There’s no right or wrong answer! I think where you are in your life, depends on what you see. Who we are, what happened to us last night, what stresses we have in our lives will all impact how we see these pictures! That’s good …
Here’s what I see. I see busy-ness. Especially in very colorful picture. Right? I see the at least 7 versions of me that I will be today. I am sure you can see at least 7 versions of you too! Think about it! But, I see the “me” working in my office, the “me” in a meeting at 4pm, the me kicking everyone’s rear-end in volleyball tonight in the gym at 7pm (just kidding), the “me” who will hopefully get some sleep tonight (still recouping from ski trip), the “me” eating lunch with a friend, the “me” on the phone, the “me” racing to get everything done today, the “me” driving in my car to pick up a package that arrived for me.
But you know what I just realized I didn’t see at first glance in this picture? The “me” who will stop and listen for God; the “me” who will do personal Bible study; or the “me” who will pray. That’s embarrassing! How’d you do? You see, I got so overwhelmed in thinking of all the “me’s” in the picture and all of the things I have to and want to accomplish today that I didn’t even recognize or acknowledge the “me” who is called to recognize and acknowledge the call that God places upon “me.” That call is to be connected to God each day, in all ways. It’s not an easy call and I get so busy being “me” that I sometimes just forget about God altogether. How about you?
Martin Luther said it like this … your relationship with Jesus, it’s more than just “believing!” It is “possessing” Jesus. In other words, it’s more than me just getting in my car and driving to pick up my package; when the crazy driver pulls out in front of me – I don’t flip him off, my reaction is different because I “possess” Jesus. Or, it’s more than me racing around to get everything done; it’s taking time to stop and reflect and pray. So if that means I don’t get to bed and recoup as early as I’d like, then so be it. Or maybe that means that I start my 4pm meeting with a prayer instead of just dashing right into the business (maybe like you taking a test at school or before starting homework?). Or maybe it means having a different kind of conversation with my friend at lunch instead of gossiping about all the things that happened with our friends while I was away skiing this week-end.
We’re all busy, that’s just the society we live in. Jesus was busy too! It was a different kind of busy, but it was busy, nonetheless! Do you know what God did to Jesus, when he got too busy?
It’s the story from Mark 1. Here’s the background: John the Baptist is running around telling everyone to turn to God and their sins will be forgiven. And he’s baptizing them in the Jordan river and they are all gathered around. I mean there are crowds of people; crazy busy all around! Can’t you picture it? And all of a sudden, in comes Jesus! We assume he’s been on a journey because the Bible says he’s come UP from Nazareth to see John. So, he’s been going and busy too! And then, John baptized him. As soon as he comes out the water, do you remember what happened?
The sky opened up and down came a dove and the voice that says “You’re my son and I am pleased with you.” The Bible then says that RIGHT AWAY the Holy Spirit makes Jesus go into the desert. For 40 days, no less! Can you imagine 40 days with no friends or family. Just animals, rocks, yourself, and, oh yeah, temptation. 40 days of being still and listening for God? I can’t imagine 40 minutes, much less 40 days! However, in that dry, hot, miserable, lonely desert, I think Jesus learned a lot about himself and his human strength. He overcame many temptations! He came out prepared for what was ahead of Him.
So here’s your challenge for this day or this week (and always). Take time to go to the “desert.” It requires you to be still. But, you will learn a lot about yourself and just how exactly you “possess” Jesus more than you just “believe” in Jesus and what difference that can make in your life. Be busy! But don’t forget to be still too! Make the desert your priority!
P/S – That’s why you had to be “still” and read this in “silence.”