Jesus became very popular in the beginning of his ministry. Everyone wanted to be with him; they were intrigued with his new teaching and strange ideas and they were excited to see their bodies being healed when he prayed for them.
The disciples were pretty happy about their place alongside Jesus. They were riding the wave of his popularity. One morning they couldn’t find Jesus, and when they finally did, they said, “Where have you been? The crowds have been looking for you; they want you to pray for them.”
Jesus’ response is directly opposite what they expected to hear. He said, “We need to leave here now; for I have been called to preach the Kingdom of God in other towns because that is why I was sent.”
In the disciples’ minds, when we have a good thing going, why in the world would you walk away from it? But, Jesus was clear about his identity and his mission.
So, you may be asking, “What does this have to do with practicing a rhythm of life?”
We often do things because we are not clear about who we are as Jesus’ followers and about what he is asking us to do. When we aren’t clear on those two important areas of life, we begin to do things that are counter to what God created us to do.
One of the biggest gifts God gave us in creation is the call to rest. He created for six days and rested on the seventh. Our loving Creator set a DNA for us in our bodies, minds and spirits that we can move hard for six days, but then need a whole day to regroup and to revive!
When we ignore this rhythm in our lives; we actually become much less productive, creative, and content. Our stress level rises and our patience declines, making our relationships with those around us strained.
Sound familiar? I think it is a common challenge for almost every American right now; and a reality for many Jesus followers that I know.
So, how did Jesus, who only had 3 shorts years to accomplish his life purpose, prioritize times of rest and communion with his Father, without experiencing that familiar panicked feeling that it will never all get done?
First, he knew who he was. He was God’s son, much loved and valued. At Jesus baptism, he was given this affirmation from his Father: “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The funny thing is that Jesus hadn’t done “anything significant for the Kingdom” at that point. But, the message to Jesus and to us as his followers is that we are not loved for how we perform; we are loved because of who we are.
I challenge you to meditate on that truth for the next month in our season of abiding. As you do, you will find that your need to be super busy will shift into a greater longing to be with the One who loves us just for who we are.
Second, Jesus knew his mission: he came to make disciples who would carry on his work after he was gone. He knew ultimately that he came to die. He was able to stay focused on the bigger purpose for his life so that the urgency of his disciples, the crowds and the Pharisees had little impact on his plans. He lived to please his Father and to carry out his mission. That’s it. Simple but profound.
I challenge you to press into the reality of Jesus’ mission for your life. This fall a community assessment will be available to help us as individuals and as missio communities to discover our purpose so we can take steps to align with God’s good purpose for our lives at this specific time in history.
In the meantime, as Missio Lux intentionally lives out abiding (rest and relationship) this summer, take steps to do just a couple of things different, and as you do, you will discover your stress easing up and your joy for life increasing.
I challenged one man to spend the month of August meditating on John 15:1-17: the passage on abiding. He is seeking to have his thinking aligned so that his life reflects Jesus heart for us: one that rocks back and forth between abiding (resting) with our Creator and then going to bear fruit or to live out our mission in life.
Jesus made a promise to us in John 8:31-32 “If you continue as my disciple, you shall know the truth (about your identity and your mission) and you will be set free.
That is my prayer for you and for me. Let’s press into know God’s heart for us, his identity given to us, and his mission he created us to carry out.