(originally posted 4/13/17)
Jesus came to earth as a human being, just like you and me (we seem to have a hard time believing that). He had a special purpose to fulfill, just like you and me (we can’t seem to believe that either).
God wanted him to show us by his life, death, and resurrection, how deeply and passionately we are loved, how much he longs to bless us, and how we should care for, and be blessings to, others (those truths also seem to have been lost to us on our often broken journey).
Jesus set out to fulfill his purpose even though he knew he was making a lot of “important” people angry. So angry they would kill him. I’m pretty sure no one wants to kill us for striving to be all God created us to be (though that is not the case for many Christians in other countries). Just to be sure, we have to come up with an excuse to opt out – and we do: I’m not smart enough, I’m busy, I don’t think that applies to me. I need to straighten up my messy life and my underwear drawer first…wha-wha-wha…
Daily, Jesus had to decide if he would keep doing what he came here to do. Just before they came to take him away, scripture tells us that he was in agony, praying that God would just make it go away (Luke 22:39-46). After all, the human side of him did not want to suffer. But, in the end, he accepted whatever God’s will was.
It will soon be Holy Week – when we remember Jesus’ suffering, death, and glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, which we celebrate as the church’s most powerful reminder of how much God loves us! Easter Sunday is the moment in time when the disciples came out of hiding, when their fears and doubts fell away, and they tripped all over each other to get busy preaching and teaching and glorifying God.
Jesus could have made a different choice. He could have said “no” to God. The disciples could have stayed in hiding. What about us?
God tells us that he made us in his image and had special plans for us before we were even born. He gave everyone gifts and talents and, at the same time, made each person unique and special. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Sure, you may doubt yourself. You may not want to risk using gifts that you think others might criticize or feel inadequate to pursue. But, if you trust that God gave you those gifts, then you must believe that he has already given you everything you need to use them for his glory. Not doing that would be sort of like gifting you with a new car and not giving you the keys, wouldn’t it?
So…what do you say? There is no better time than now to reflect prayerfully on what your life’s purpose is if you haven’t already. Sit quietly with God and just ask him to help you consider the following:
- How are you unique?
- Do you know what your gifts are? Let’s think about that…
- Who do you admire and why? (Often, what we admire in others is what we would like to develop in ourselves).
- Do you like helping others?
- Do you consider yourself a leader?
- What makes you happy – sad? What are you passionate about? (These can be thoughts that can lead to the discovery of your gifts)
- Has someone else told you that you are good at something?
God is waiting for each of us to come out of hiding, step out of our comfort zone, and serve this broken world.
During this Holy Week, perhaps for the first time, deeply contemplate Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in light of your own life, and purpose. Is this your resurrection moment? Is it time for your “yes”?
2 Corinthians 5:17 proclaims that you are a new creation in Christ each new day, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Also, and very importantly, when considering your gifts and how you are called to use them try not to get all full of yourself in the process – okay? It would be easy to do, but, dear heart, this isn’t about you! Sorry.
Always keep Jesus’ example in the forefront of all you do:
Why did God send Jesus here?
It wasn’t to flex His muscles – although he could have. He could have taken his anger out on our sinfulness and rejection and wiped us all out. He did it before you know…
No, it was to show us in the most powerful way he could how deep his love is for us, and in particular, those who suffer.
It wasn’t to gather groupies who would idolize him, serve him, and cater to his every whim – although that would have been easier. All he had to do was eliminate free will. But our free will to love him – or not – was too important to him. Even though that very will of those in power nailed his Son to the cross.
No, it was to model meekness, humility, and service to those most in need.
It wasn’t to puff out his chest and boast of his great might – although he had plenty to boast about. No one, no matter what pedestal we set them on, or place of honor we bestow on them – ourselves included – no one should brag or exult themselves (though we often try).
No, his extravagant love was manifested through his beloved Son, not puffed up and boastful, but rejected and slumped over on a cross.
Now, go on – what are you waiting for? God knows you’re a hot mess – so what?