24. Seek Life

“Watching & Waiting” Meditations: 24. Seek Life!

Lk 9:60  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

I have just been talking with my wife about priorities in life. She had a question about eternal life. We talked and pondered. How we view our lives determines our priorities in this day. Some suggest we live this day as if it were our last, that we consider it very precious and special, and in one sense that is true, but there is another sense, that today is one of the days of my life that stretch into a distance without end – it is an eternal distance. So in that sense, it is a gift of God, bought by Jesus, empowered by the Spirit, lived to the glory of the Father, planned from before the foundation of the world. It is one day of the jigsaw puzzle of days that make up the big picture that, in eternity, will be seen to be ‘my life’. Yes, it is a special day because when one piece of the puzzle is missing, the puzzle picture is incomplete, unfinished.

I’m sure somewhere in past meditations I have referred to the butterfly effect or chaos theory, that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world can bring about big effects on the other side of the world, or so the theory says. But the truth us that whatever happens in ‘today’ will bring about change either in me or in someone else. Even my talking with my wife a few minutes ago, changes her and changes me.  Our clearing our thinking adds to our faith, our assurance, we’re just a tiny bit stronger than we were before that conversation. Feeding our minds and our spirits is as important as feeding our bodies. It all contributes to the bigger picture.

And at that point we find ourselves with a two-sided approach to ‘today’. On one side there is a very contented feeling, that says I am in the Plan, being led by God, with God providing for me, and so when the apostle Paul so often wrote words like “grace and peace be yours”, there is a hidden implication that grace, which is the sum of all of His resources that He has made available to me, will mean that I have such a sense of provision and blessedness, that peace naturally flows. Taking hold of grace brings peace and peace breeds contentment. So on one side of the coin there is a wonderful contentment that I am living in the plan and provision and protection of the Lord.

But the other side of the coin has the questions, are there things I could be doing to share this wonderful thing (“This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.”  2 Kings 7:9), or are there things I could be doing to enhance this wonderful thing, this ‘eternal’ life, this particular day, what does God want for me in this day, beyond what I see at the present? Or perhaps, how does this day, this one particular piece of the puzzle fit into the big picture? Will this day complete a small part of the big picture? If you do puzzles you may know that sometimes there are the mundane bits – filling in the sky that appears almost all the same – but then there are specific bits that the single piece in your hand makes complete, like a boat or a building or a bridge, say. Will today be one of those days or is it a ‘sky-piece’ day, not special on its own but essential to complete the picture? However it is, it is a significant day when it is God’s ‘picture’, and that makes all the difference.

Our starter verse, “Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” fits in to all this. At first sight this may appear rather lacking in compassion but when you expand it, you see various other things: there are plenty of others who can make the funeral arrangements while you are with me elsewhere, is what he is saying, leave those who are concerned with dead things of the world to their own devices, you focus on bringing life. However we may put it – and the Message puts it, “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!” – it is a call to focus, not on the world, but on Jesus’ will and goals. Continuing to watch and wait must have that at its ongoing heart. Hold the ideas we shared before, of today be one small piece in the bigger puzzle picture and see the value of today as part of that, but then ponder on the distractions of life that may get in the way of the important issues of life. 2020 and 2021, the years of the Covid-19 Pandemic, have been like that. They can appear as distractions or even hindrances to the main job of just getting on with life, or they can be seen as pieces of the big puzzle-picture we hadn’t realized were there, part of it. That’s the thing about the big picture, we can’t see it all from the vantage point of ‘today’. We didn’t see this dark cloud or thick mist, that appeared on the picture, but it is now there and obvious. But instead of a distraction was it a learning time, a time of focusing much more clearly the important issues of life? Is Jesus, in our verse, saying ignore and forget all the grieving people of the world? Definitely not, but he is saying that there IS something more important than our personal losses, the deaths of the individuals of our lives. It is where have those loved ones gone, where will you go, where will I go when we ‘die’? Will death be the end or does the big picture continue on and on so, in fact, rather that it being like a single oblong cardboard picture, it is more like a picture on canvas that is being unrolled like the scroll in the hands of the Lamb? (Rev 5) These words of Jesus challenge us to think about our priorities and them being seen in the light of the possibility of eternity with him. Let’s do that.  

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