Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jesus is Coming (Look Busy)

Driving through downtown Roanoke yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker I'd never seen before: Jesus is coming (look busy).  

I couldn't help but laugh at the misinformation perpetuated by such a message, and then be immediately convicted of my own busyness.

I am too often wrapped up in activities for Jesus instead of abiding in Jesus.  Church work can really get to be a busy work.  Especially as the church grows (this is a good thing), the busyness increases (this is a bad thing).  If I am not careful and intentional about my life, I end up acting like Martha in the kitchen, grumbling that I never get to spend time with Jesus.  But oh, the work I'm accomplishing FOR him! 

Living Water Christian Church is all about creating "reproducing" disciples as part of our discipleship process - meaning we connect people to God, help them grow and serve, then duplicate themselves in the lives of other people.  That means one doesn't just keep piling more and more activities and work on oneself - one creates apprentices and other workers, then goes out to create more disciples.

It's a very biblical, thoughtful, intentional concept - one that I am finally starting to understand.  In the hands of Jesus, I help him create reproducing disciples (disciples make more disciples; small groups make more small groups; churches make more churches).

But left to my own devices, I putter about, doing, doing, doing... and feeling right proud of myself.  This puttering feeds the heresy that we can do anything on our own accord to earn salvation or the grace of Jesus.  How many jokes have you heard about the priest, the rabbi and the so-and-so who meet St. Peter at the pearly gates and plead their case to get into heaven?  One of Satan's most successful lies is that humankind can earn salvation.  

Jesus IS COMING again ... but busyness and toil will not save us.  Jesus already did all the work necessary for our salvation when he died on the cross.  I Timothy 1:9 tells us "For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus." (NLT)  God saved us not because we deserved it - not because we were busy - but because that was his plan; to show us grace.

Grace trumps busyness.

Grace covers the weary and heavy laden, too worn to be busy.  Jesus's yoke is light, not heavy.  He gives us rest, not work.  As Eugene Peterson's Message translation of Matthew 11:29-30 puts it: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Jesus IS coming ... but the only thing I need to do about it is accept him, obey him, and begin to live in him.  He did it all for me.  If I were the only person on earth, Jesus still would have died to save me.  My life in Jesus should only be a visceral, grateful  response to his grace and mercy.  All else is busywork, not holy, and it definitely does not save me.

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