I’ve been quiet, and I’ve been reading, and I’ve been thinking, and now I find I must correct my last statement on Monday’s blog post.
I claimed that Jesus [speaking to His disciples, or disciples-to-be]“set forth clear goals to work toward.”
This was incorrect!
He didn’t really set up a bunch of goals to aim at. What He presented instead was one new aim, a whole different mindset, to replace all distracting goals and aims.
This is what we need—to gain, or renew. Some of us may have had that aim, that mindset, somewhere in the past, but got it hijacked! Something, or someone, robbed our attention from it!
Just like the people of Christ’s earth time, we need to aim our focus in a better direction—and keep it there!
The world and life in it can get terribly distracting. This was true even long before telegraph, telephone, and television, let alone everything wifi and cyber.
When Jesus came along and began to preach, he started with a word John the baptizer had called out before Him, and that word essentially means, “reset your focus, understanding, and direction.”
That word, hated much by many because they don’t see the golden principle and reward in doing it, is “repent.”
As I now read through various passages the last post referred to, I see in every case, Jesus’ aim was to correct his hearers’ aim. Something distracting had commandeered their attention and pulled it off course onto convoluting paths, and He was telling them how to point themselves in the one right direction:
- The rich young ruler really wanted to do right in God’s eyes, but his possessions had gotten a tight, hindering hold on his attention. (Jesus gave him the instruction he needed to get released from their grip.)
- The fishermen He approached were struggling to provide for their families, and getting frustrated. (Jesus showed them in living color how God could supply all their need and more, so they could let go of the nets that in turn had a hold on them, and follow him in new freedom and faith.)
- Matthew’s attention was focused on the coins he had to count at the tax table which essentially held him captive. (Jesus gave him the same kind of freedom call as the fishermen.)
- Later, Jesus expounded to many on the same principle as above, and gave his disciples a practical experience of radically trusting God and being supplied.
- Next we see Him loosening the grip of people’s perceived “need” for human approval and belief in other humans as the source of their essential needs, not only physically, but emotionally and socially.
Yes, we need people, and food and shelter, but we need even more to aim our attention and our lives toward the One Who created and maintains all those things and has power to supply all those needs and more.
In this vein Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God. This, he said, is the singular goal we need to seek, first and foremost.
What He meant by that is a huge enough subject to fill a heavy tome and still not reveal all He implied. But He did present lots of parables about that Kingdom, and how to live in it. What a good pursuit for the upcoming season of Lent! Or for any season. But especially right now at the end of this challenge series, what a good way to focus on the sure path Christ guides us on. Meandering? Maybe, but not straying or erring. Following the One Who will guide us right.
The Parables are not going to be my Lenten pursuit this year, however. I will be doing this instead, during Lent and beyond through the month of June, and sharing here some of the insights, joys, and beauties I hopefully gain. In a future post (maybe tomorrow), I’ll be telling more about it, and inviting you to come along on the journey.
For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.