There’s something about nature that just speaks to me. I can’t put my finger on it, but as I walk, see, smell, taste, touch and hear the world around me I seem to come alive on the inside. Have you ever wondered why our world has become so driven? To what end do we owe our desire to work harder and consume more? To what purpose can we attribute our motivation and desire for results?
I’m beginning to understand that my motivation to succeed is based on my lack of self-confidence. I’m driven to create, inspire and lead so that I can somehow gain a greater self-worth and benefit from the confidence that comes with it. But what happens when all my goals are achieved and there is nothing left in the tank to measure?
Jesus was definitely busy and most certainly driven…but He was also aware of His own limitations and He never pushed beyond them. His definition for success what to do His Father’s will, which meant being obedient to death on a cross for the redemption of the entire world. Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t stick around to begin the church after His resurrection? If there ever was an attractional type ministry model that would bring guaranteed success…it may have been pulling a Thomas and offering a chance of a lifetime to unbelievers to place their own hands into the so called death wounds of the risen Lord. I imagine thousands, perhaps even millions of people flocking to this new church to see that these stories of old are most definitely real.
But Jesus didn’t stick around in human form, did He. This revelation begs the question, why? The answer may seem insignificant due to its’ un-shiny appearance, but believe you me, there is much depth to be found in its’ exploration. Simply put, God the Father did not ask God the Son to begin the church…so Jesus didn’t stick around to do so. Remember that it was Jesus who clearly stated that His work here on earth was to do His Father’s will. Staying to begin the church was outside of God the Father’s will for His son Jesus, so Jesus never did it.
Wait for it…Jesus didn’t do it all. Theologically speaking in regards to the cross, Jesus did it all, but philosophically speaking in terms of the God’s plan of restoration for the world, Jesus did not do it all; Jesus simply did His part. God’s plan of restoration didn’t end with Jesus. Instead, the story of Jesus, His death & resurrection is the apex or center of God’s plan for restoration of the world. What this means is that this plan is still unfolding today. Before you get ahead of yourself and begin to think that I may be some whacked out prophet guy who is trying to add stuff to the gospel message, please let me clarify a few things here. First of all, the Bible (God’s Word) is complete and cannot be added onto by anyone. The Bible is divinely inspired by God; it’s alive and active; it possesses the power to separate bone from marrow because it exists to sharpen and focus the heart of humanity. There is no other piece of literature in existence that can boast about having stirred up the same amount of controversy in our world today. The Bible is controversial because the Bible pushes the envelope of traditional human condition versus divinely inspired human restoration.
It is this theme of restoration that persists even today. Jesus, being the apex of this theme, played His God-given role in this theme and it is now our turn to respond accordingly. Each of us has been scripted for a role in God’s ultimate plan of restoration in our world. There is work that is yet to be done, it isn’t over simply because the penalty for death and the road to eternal life has been restored. As keepers of this sacred knowledge, we now have a responsibility to demonstrate the truths about this tangible kingdom and movement of restoration that God has been weaving together since the beginning of time.
All this having been said, where does this put you and I? We are here for a reason…a divine purpose…and it is this purpose that brings hope, clarity and meaning to our daily lives. But it’s also this same purpose that often leaves us feeling somewhat under-whelmed at times. The fame, the glitz and the glory are not frequently found when living according to this divine purpose. Restoration involves a willingness to sacrifice one’s own desires, wants & needs in order to see the life of another restored to ultimate glory through Christ.
It’s this theme of restoration that must begin and help us to continue refining how we inspire others to follow Christ, so that each of us may imagine and respond to our role in the restoration process. And as we move forward, we must be willing to let go of the intangibles that have been easy to measure but now telling of the state of the human heart accurately. We must learn to measure compassion instead of reaction. As followers of Christ, our willingness to identify with others will mark the health of our human heart and its’ readiness to be molded by its’ Creator.
Humility, Eagerness, Authenticity, Reliability & Teachability must be at the core of a softened, Christ-center human heart. Growth in these 5 character qualities should be measured as success in spiritual transformation. There is no how-to process that defines how to approach any of these character developments, but simply a guiding principle from the life of Jesus that demonstrates the importance of the journey in equal relation to the final destination. “Come follow me:” three simple, yet profound words. If our focus is on following Christ, these 5 character qualities will be at the root of our journey. We are not asked to do everything, but we are asked to do something; and it is the something that we choose to do that defines us all.