Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We Need To Stop How We Major On The Minor In Life

We are a strange bunch of people, often majoring on the minor things in life. We will not worry about the hundreds of dollars we are wasting by leaving our thermostats turned up all day but we will become angry with one of our children for breaking a 12 cent egg. We will forgive our co-worker for the hundred annoying things he does in a day but when our spouse forgets to put the cap on the toothpaste we are upset. I don't think I have to give too many lame examples, you understand the point I. We choose to ignore the "elephant in the room" and deal with the spider crawling up the wall instead. We major on the minor.

I see an example of this with Jesus' invitation to Philip and eventually Nathanael. Jesus had come across Philip and for some reason he invited Philip to join him. Philip saw something in Jesus that caused him to accept this invitation to be his disciple, enough so that he ran to tell his friend Nathanael. Now understand that Philip didn't just tell Nathanael that Jesus was a likeable guy with entertaining stories. He told him that Jesus was the one, the Messiah, the dude the prophets had told them about. Nathanael's reaction was one of disbelief but there was something about Philip's reaction that caused Nathanael to at least go and meet Jesus. The encounter between Jesus and Nathanael was interesting:

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
   Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
    Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” (John 1:47-49)

What was there about Jesus that caused these men to drop everything to follow Jesus, without question? We had the first two Jesus called, of which Andrew was one, who spent a single day with Jesus and gave up everything to be his disciple. Andrew brought Peter along and Peter left everything after a simple encounter. Then we have Philip who dropped everything simply because Jesus invited him to be a disciple. Philip brings Nathanael along and he declares Jesus as the Messiah simply because Jesus had some foreknowledge of him. There was obviously more that they were seeing than what is possible to record on paper.

Now here we have Nathanael declaring Jesus the king of Israel simply because he told him that he had been sitting under a fig tree. I wonder what simple things of God amazes us. Is it when he provides the exact amount of money we need for that unexpected bill? Is it when make it to the end of the month not knowing exactly how we managed it? Is it when he heals our back pain or when our neighbour suddenly forgives us? Is it any of the number of "small" things he does in our life? Jesus said to Nathanael:

“You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:50-51)

This is the sad thing, because we major on the minor and we concentrate on these things, we often miss the major things in our relationship with God. He may have healed us of that nasty flu but we don't notice when a co-worker's heart has been prepared to receive our testimony about Jesus. We are yammering on so much about the miracle of our healed cold we miss that God is prepared to heal a heart. It is like the question Jesus asked, "What's easier to do, to heal a broken body or to forgive?" What's a broken body compared to the restoration of our heart for God? When the poor broken man was lowered down through the ceiling on a body board, what was the first thing Jesus did? He forgave the man his sins. He healed him to make a point with the leaders who were criticizing the forgiveness.

Remember when Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs on their own. He gave them authority over diseases and demons and told them to preach the good news. When they came back they were all excited because of the miracles they had been involved in and because the demons had to obey them. Jesus told them not to rejoice over these simple matters but instead to rejoice over the fact that their names were written in the Lambs Book of Life. Do not major on the minor things in life, or even in the Kingdom. God's provision is a simple thing. Be thankful for it but be more amazed at those who can come to know Jesus through you.

I have a friend who has been going through some tough times. He has had relationship issues as well as health issues plaguing his life. He has gone through a lot of discouraging things in his life. One day I was explaining to him the importance of getting his life sorted out with God, that this had to be his priority over everything else. He astounded me when he stated, "I wish Jesus would do something to convince me of his love for me". My answer came quick, without much thought because there was only one response. "He did," I said, "it's called the cross." He was majoring on so many minor things that the cross had become obscured from his sight.

If we honestly love Jesus Christ as we should, with all of our heart, mind, soul, body and strength, the minor things of life will remain minor. Forgiveness will come easily, and I mean the real kind of forgiveness. The kind that also causes you to forget, never holding it against the person, and never bringing it up again. So we will not become easily offended, we will not panic over the small mountains in our life like bills and health problems. We will be able to focus on the larger issues and trust the love of Jesus for us, so that, along with Paul we can declare:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Raise your expectation level and open your eyes to the greater things of God. Lift your eyes from the pebbles and look to the great mountains. It is time to crawl out of the gutters and put on your princely robes. Stop expecting so little in your relationship with Jesus Christ. God our Father has given us many promises; you need to learn these promises and treat them as good as gold. These promises have been given to you to live and you need to live the truth that the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. Stop being amazed that God knows you and start being amazed at what he wants to show you and how he wants to use you. You are not insignificant. Our Father knit you together in your mother's womb, filled you with purpose, and Jesus died for you so that you could be restored to our Father and to this purpose. Lift up your eyes and see the real work of our God.



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