Archive for March 2016 – Page 2

Why Is Jesus So Hierarchical?

Why Is Jesus So Hierarchical?

It used to bother me that so many of the stories Jesus told were about servants obeying their master. I didn’t like the unequal, hierarchical imagery. I didn’t want anyone bossing me around and treating me like a servant – not even God!

Yet it’s no accident that Jesus told stories in the way he did. The new life and reality that Jesus introduces isn’t interested in my petty preferences. The God of Abraham doesn’t ask me for my constructive criticism. He wants my devotion, my free decision to follow him despite all the risks. 

Jesus is the only one who is willing to tell the truth about this. So often we want to imagine that we are free to make our own choices, serve our own causes, be who we want to be. But we’re all slaves to something, for better or worse. Each and every one of us serves something greater than themselves, even if it’s just our own addiction. 

The real question of human existence is not whether to seize control and be the master. It’s already clear that we’re subordinates, servants to whatever power, ideology, or addiction that we allow to grasp us.  The pressing question is who or what we will choose to serve. Will we become servants to a nation, an idea, a craving? Or will we instead choose to submit ourselves to the one true God, who outlasts all illusion and lovingly creates everything we see?

Will we choose to become like Jesus, who though he is God’s son descended farther than most of us can imagine? By taking on the form of a slave and putting himself below all people, he revealed the very heart of God. The loving power revealed in Jesus is a creator who loves us so much that he is willing to die to reveal and heal our fear, sin, and misunderstanding. 

When I see his love and humility, his willingness to be brought so low for my sake, how can I choose anything but to follow in his footsteps? If God vindicated Jesus by raising him from the dead, how much more so will he lift us up when we humble ourselves and show Christ’s love to those around us?

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You Just Need More Light

We have a plant in the office where I work. It’s one of those plants that is supposedly indestructible. Even the most negligent gardeners shouldn’t be able to kill this thing.

Yet last week I noticed that the plant had begun to wilt dramatically. It looked like it might not survive.

I went and checked the soil, assuming I would find it bone-dry. But on the contrary, the dirt around the roots was soaked. Had we been over-watering it? What could be causing this rapid decline? Not knowing quite what else to do, I moved it out of the office, into a window sill in the hallway.

Weird thing is, the plant fully recovered by the next day. It was almost miraculous. All it needed was the direct sunlight of the hallway to transform it from a sad, wilted mess into a healthy plant again. I thought the problem was the soil, but it was actually one of light.

The story of this plant reminds me of how often I get confused about the reasons for my own wilted and downcast state. It’s easy for me to blame the soil of my life – the people, circumstances, and material conditions of my daily existence – for my darkness. But in reality the problem isn’t with the soil.

When I’m really struggling, it’s usually because I’ve lost track of where my life’s light comes from. I’ve shifted my focus away from the loving presence of God, losing myself in the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and desires for other things. The lack of light chokes the word of God within me.

The parable of the office plant is a reminder to keep a good eye on the way I live my life. Are my priorities drawing me deeper into joy, love, and peace, or am I being lured into busyness? Am I getting lost in the details of the soil, or am I daily drawing nearer to the light?

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