The Bare Soul -
April 20, 2008
What is Jesus Doing?
John 5:19 - Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
Recently, I once again had the privilege of sharing the Word of God with the men at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel. After my message and when I was getting ready to leave, a gentleman that I have gotten to know over the months had a request of me. He held out a tiny cross with the initials WWJD on it. Most of us know the acronym and its meaning -- What would Jesus do? He then asked me if I would accept it and wear it at one of my upcoming races. I assured him I would and gladly accepted the small gift, knowing that the exchange had meant a lot to both of us.
I hadn't really thought much about his small token until a few days later while I was mowing the yard. I just happened to look up under the overhang of my roof and I noticed a robin had built a nest in the crook of the down spout. Not many years ago, my first inclination would have been to remove the nest as quickly as possible, because after all, it's my house and I don't want any bird roosting on or near it. However, this particular day I thought "It's not doing any harm ... I'm going to paint this year but I can wait until the young hatch and fly off". To most, this kind of thinking would be second nature. Many of you are kind individuals that wouldn't think about molesting this mother off of her young. To know me, however, before Christ lived in and through me is to know a person that would have been out there immediately with a broom handle knocking the nest away from the house. My rights would have superseded all thoughts of mercy toward this mother and her eggs.
Albert Schweitzer, famed physician and theologian in his 1936 article "The Ethics of Reverence for Life" writes: God does not rest content with commanding ethics. He gives it to us in our very hearts. I once remember a talk by a preacher who mentioned an incident where an old organ or piano was being moved in one of the doctor's locations in Africa, and a large habitation of cockroaches had taken up residence where the musical instrument had been situated. His helper immediately started destroying the seeming pests but Dr. Schweitzer was horrified and yelled, "STOP!" as he hurriedly corralled the remaining colony and took them outside. He had such a reverence for life that he was appalled at the thought of killing them regardless of their perception by most. This may be a little extreme for some of our own western sensibilities. However, the doctor had been changed radically through his faith and conviction for life of all forms, no matter their seeming insignificance.
The bird incident made me stop and think about the difference between What Would Jesus Do? and What is Jesus Doing (WIJD) ? The former is an ideal that folks can try to live up to -- a higher plane of living that one can try to emulate as one would a sensei or a great teacher. The latter is looking in one's heart and life and seeing the Risen Lord DOING things that can not be explained as an action or reaction that was familiar to the "old self". WWJD implies emulation, while WIJD requires identification. To identify with the Lord's death, burial, and resurrection means that we have come into a new life and that our "old self" has been totally removed from the equation. Paul correctly stated in Galatians 5:22 that it was no longer he that lived, but Christ living in him. The robin's nest is only one of a myriad of other instances that any number of us who know the Lord can testify to regarding how he has changed us radically from within. The changed or "exchanged life" manifests through simple things that are opposed to the character of who we were as when we practiced sin. Consequently, there are many things that I no longer wish to do that I once did, because a new Life has taken up residence. It is a miracle that this recovering alcoholic does not desire a drink because the most natural thing for an alcoholic to do is drink or at the very least desire to do so. It is a miracle that today I desire to be a giver and not taker -- to be faithful and not faithless to both God and those I love -- to live the holy life that my Lord desires, for truly He is there to lead with loving direction.
As believers in the Lord Jesus, our desire should not merely be to emulate our Father in heaven but to do the things He does, even as the Son said He did the things He saw His Father doing in heaven. We really don't have to ask the question What Would Jesus Do? if we are rightly related to Him. We merely have to look at our day in retrospect and how we behave toward each other (or God's creation) to know if we are doing the works of our Lord. As Dr. Schweitzer stated, God is not in the business of commanding us to be ethical, but He is in the business of living holy lives through those He resides in. As days turn into weeks, months, year and we know that He has been moving and doing and being within us, then it is truly the miracle of the exchanged life within. If we still need to ask What Would Jesus Do? then possibly we have not entered into that Living Relationship with the One who desires to live through us. Only when we are KNOWING what Jesus is doing through us are we truly living!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I not merely emulate your holy life, but may I share in it daily by Christ living through me. May I know Him and the power of His resurrection. For truly in Him we live and move and have our being. In Jesus name. Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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