Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No, But Jesus Has Got Me.

"Got Jesus?" This bumper sticker drives me crazy, because to "get Jesus" or to “bring Jesus” to people is a fallacy. We don’t get to decide who Jesus will meet or where Jesus will be at work. Jesus is not an inanimate object for the transporting and obtaining, but a person who is even more alive than we are.

The work of Christians is to perceive where Jesus is already at work, and then decide whether to join in his work, and how deeply. Any one of us—Christian or not—can participate in Jesus’ work without even realizing it. But to come to a deeper understanding of Jesus and his work in the world is a joyful and exciting state to be in. That’s the path I choose, and I hope to be helpful to others as well, not bringing Jesus from somewhere else, but showing them Jesus already hard at work and encouraging them to join in this difficult, joyful work.

What is the work of Jesus? We see it revealed in the Gospels, in the story of the thirty years of Jesus’ limited, earthly life. He called people, taught people, fed people, and sent people. When you feel called, taught, fed, and sent, pay attention. Jesus is there, loving you into a fresher, deeper expression of yourself.

It’s not supposed to be easy. Actually, it’s supposed to call you outside of yourself. When you give deeply of yourself to another person, you are working with Jesus. When you find yourself using gifts you didn’t even know you had, you honoring the call of Jesus. When you have to stretch to understand another person’s perspective, you are making room for Jesus. When you are more interested in continuing the conversation than in resolving it once and for all, you are acknowledging your own limitations and trusting that Jesus has more to teach you.

Does this mean that Christians never say no, never reject another’s perspective? Of course not. The work of discernment also includes moments of rejecting an agenda that is contrary to Jesus. But we are to make such judgments very carefully, lest we find that our own limitations are preventing us from finding the good that is in front of us.

Is it necessary for people to be Christians in order to engage in work with Jesus? Absolutely not. But as a baptized and confirmed Christian, I have chosen to walk in Jesus' footsteps, wherever they may lead. Anyone who is doing the work of Jesus is a companion of mine.

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful Josh. Thank you for writing and sharing what exists in your heart and mind. Life took me on a path that lead to me being an agnostic Buddhist (odd blend eh?) I have always appreciated the open and supportive manner in which you move through the world & it had a strong impact upon me both in my formative years and even now when I reflect upon the concepts you shared.

    When people focus on their shared principals rather than differing beliefs, it grows community and fosters compassion, understanding and peace. Thank you for the work you did alongside Jesus in HYC when I was young and for the lessons you shared with me :)

    - Ivan