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Archive for March, 2009

istock_000003621683xsmallThe journey we’re on in life isn’t meant to be walked alone. From the earliest chapters of the Bible we learn that God made us to be in relationships. After creating a multitude of animals and the first human being, He said, “It’s not good for the man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” (Genesis 2:18, The Message) He created Eve to meet the need in Adam’s heart and life for companionship – a need that no animal could meet.

We usually think of the above passage of scripture as referring only to marriage, but it contains a principle with broader implications. Part of how we bear God’s image is in this need for connection and companionship. We know God is intensely relational, partly because He has existed as the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – from before the beginning of time. But perhaps more significantly, we know it because of the enormous price He paid to repair our fractured relationship with Him. He longed to restore fellowship with His lost image-bearers so intensely that He came, willingly, and died for us on a cross. This is what Jesus means when He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV)

Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we become journey-mates with Him and with all other Christians, regardless of ethnicity, skin colour, language or background. The wonderful thing about journeying with Jesus is the way He’s able to take any life, any person with a willing heart, and turn that life into something worthwhile and God-honouring. He doesn’t pick and choose His journey-mates, opting to walk only with a select few: He will take anyone who is willing to “walk the walk” with Him. This is the same attitude we should have towards each other. What will the journey with Jesus be like? Read what He says:

“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.” (Matthew 11:28, The Message)

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petunia-seeds1Walking like Jesus walked means being open to interruptions. Not just open to them, but expecting them. Have you noticed that He was never too busy for people? Those burning questions we ask – “why am I here?” “what’s my purpose in life?” “what is God calling me to do?” – can be answered in one phrase: We’re here to go to seed.

When you hear the phrase “going to seed”, what image does it conjure up? If you’re into gardening you probably picture a straggly looking petunia, well past its prime. By the time something has gone to seed, we write it off as old, unattractive, barren. But going to seed is exactly what Jesus did, and what He calls us to do.

Think about the plant analogy some more. God is the Master Gardener. He plants us where He wants us. He waters us, feeds us, prunes us. Under His care we grow, absorbing and reflecting His light. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, as Psalm 139 puts it. But our purpose is more than skin deep. God wants us to reproduce, just like a plant – by going to seed, a process of dying in order that new life can spring forth. Listen to what Jesus said as He looked toward the cross:

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24, NIV)

Some of the deepest satisfaction in life can come from knowing that we’re going to seed. Every day we have fresh opportunities to sow seeds on God’s behalf. Whether or not we do depends to a large extent on our attitude. Do we see others as “bit players” in our life, there to meet our needs, or as precious individuals whom God has placed in our path, so that we can bless them? The next time you are served by someone – for example, at a restaurant – consider the possibility that God may want you to serve them.

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Jesus, speaking to His disciples
(Matthew 20:26-28, NIV)

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