At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
- Luke 4:40-44
“After Christ’s forty-day pause in the wilderness, the people of Capernaum ‘tried to keep him from leaving. But Jesus said to them, ‘I must preach about God’s kingdom to other towns, too. This is why I was sent’ (Luke 4:42-43).
“He resisted the undertow of the people by anchoring to the rock of his purpose: employing his uniqueness to make a big deal out of God everywhere he could.
“And aren’t you glad he did? Suppose he had heeded the crowd and set up camp in Capernaum, reasoning, ‘I thought the whole world was my target and the Cross my destiny. But the entire town tells me to stay in Capernaum. Could all these people be wrong?’
”Yes they could! In defiance of the crowd, Jesus … said no to good things so he could say yes to the right thing: his unique call.”
- Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life
What is life for us? Three score and ten? (For the math and old number words impaired, 70 years) That’s over twice as many years as Jesus had from birth to the cross. But what I mean is that how is our life defined?
I asked one of my wife’s sister’s husbands what he was doing at work these days. I figured he had some corner office in the company by now as he is nearing retirement. We were visiting them after their son got married. He said that he had recently written a rehearsal dinner speech that he was rather proud of. I never learned whether he was even maintaining employment. The important thing to him was a speech that was more sermon than speech. I was moved by his speech, so I let the conversation die.
But that’s what guys do when they get together. They catch up with those that they know and get to know new people with one question, “How do you make your living?”
I’m glad that my brother-in-law answered in that manner. He knows in less years what I have learned in the past few years, since returning to my childhood dream of writing. You are not what brings money into the household to keep the family afloat, although that is admirable and better than too many who fall short of that. No, if you love Jesus, you are defined by how you serve others in whatever ways God wishes you to serve and how you grow to be more like Jesus.
Just think, Jesus could have been the first preacher of a megachurch. Everyone would have flocked to His church for healing. If they built a stadium, bigger than the Colosseum in Rome, few would hear His sermons due to the lack of a speaker system, but the place would be packed anyway, just for the spectacle.
Yet, Jesus told one wannabe-follower that there would be no place to rest your head. Jesus kept moving. He only had His clothing and the soldiers gambled to see who would get that. When He fed the 5,000, He saw the look in the people’s eyes, and He withdrew, away from the people, to pray. His mission on earth was not an earthly kingdom, at least not then. For the millennium reign? That is in the future, but the destiny of Jesus then was the cross.
What happens to the megachurch leaders? They have roots that are buried deep. Yes, many will cry at their funeral. For those megachurches that have no roots other than their charismatic pastor, the pastor may not even have a church as a legacy after they are gone. Should that be the goal of a pastor, a church with big numbers, or should the pastor keep moving, winning souls for Jesus, building sustainable growth in many churches, not an exponential growth in one church followed by an ugly collapse?
But what of each person sitting in the pews, assuming we get back to sitting in pews? As for me, I write my little stories that are read by people around the world. As far as the WordPress database is concerned, however, my stories haven’t reached half the countries on earth, close, but not half, so I shouldn’t be willing to be content with what has been accomplished.
If I am doing this to serve God, I should follow my Lord. Jesus did not settle down and relax. He moved on to the next town, as I move on to the next essay, story, rant, or Bible lesson – and sadly a little of each of those in a single post at times. I must keep telling myself to take Jesus seriously, but never take myself seriously. I’m just a servant, a servant that must keep going.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.