by Jacob Hess
I have the tendency to be an overly busy person. I don’t know about you, but when I am not rushing around doing something I can often feel as though I am wasting my time. A while back I took a trip to New York City and I got the impression that the city itself has some of the same tendencies. There was so much stimulation. Everywhere I looked there were ads for clothes, food, entertainment, and other products; there were so many people all going this way and that, people from all around the world. This certainly is a busy city.
His work or my work?
I think the hustle and bustle of the streets of New York is a good metaphor for the way that I sometimes feel in my own walk with God. I often feel as though I must rush around to make His work fit into my already loaded schedule. All the while being distracted by the many lights and sounds around me. Henri Nouwen paints a good picture of business when he writes in Making All Things New, “One of the most obvious characteristics of our daily living is that we are busy. We experience our days as filled with things to do, people to meet, projects to finish, letters to write, calls to make, and appointments to keep. Our lives often seem like overpacked suitcases bursting at the seams,” (23).
Is this what it looks like to live as the beloved?
Is this what it looks like to live as the beloved? Always busy working and doing. With so much wrong in the world, and in my own life, the burden to make things right is a heavy one, a burden that can make me feel as though I need to be very very busy. Yet, with all this rushing around I have found that I sometimes miss the most important thing. Focused on my own work I find that my life is about many things, but as the beloved child of God I am called to be about One thing: God and His Kingdom.
What does it look like to be called to one thing?
What does it mean to live a life focused not on me, but on God and what He has done and is doing? What does it look like to live a life that is all about the Kingdom? This is a tough question, one that I know I will continue to struggle with, but I think part of what it means is learning to wait, listen, and witness.
What does it look like to be on mission with, rather than for, God?
I think Craig Barnes, in his book on pastoral ministry, gives some good insight into what it looks like to be on mission with, rather than for, God. He writes in The Pastor As Minor Poet, “In other words, He is in our situation, and that changes everything about our mission. Rather than believing that the work of Christ is completed and that now it is our turn to try to imitate His life and work, we take on the identity of being witnesses who watch and testify to His continued work of salvation that is unfolding before our eyes, ” (59). Barnes writes how this is the difference between asking, “What would Jesus do?” and “What is Jesus doing?” In asking the first question it seems as if it is up to us to do things for God, but of the second question Barnes writes, “is built on the conviction that He is alive, reigning, and at work in our lives,” (59).
What difference would this changed perspective mean for your life?
Jacob Hess is the Music and Media Minister of The Hallows Church, husband to Alexa and author of the book “The Bright Abyss.” (I, George San Miguel, added the link to his book. Everyone should check it out!)