Yesterday, I read a thought-provoking story that I think you’ll also find to be at least curious. I read about this wealthy businessman who was really into Jesus, having been heavily influenced in very transforming ways by a pastor whom he greatly admired. This particular pastor only briefly passed through the businessman’s life, but his impact was revolutionary. Subsequently, this businessman began to treat his employees with more grace and generosity. But here was the rub, one of his employees severely ripped him off and then went missing. After several months, the wealthy man received an email from the distant pastor that he’d accidently bumped into the rogue employee and the thief had repented and decided to give his life over to Jesus’ leadership. The pastor was sending the thief back to the businessman! In the email, the pastor put the squeeze on the businessman, requesting him to do two things: forgive the thief & then let him go back to the pastor to help in his pastoring work. Clearly, the businessman was in a quandary. Justice said that the thief should pay for his crime, but grace said that the businessman should forgive his fellow brother in Christ.
When I read this story, there was a totally riveting sentence that keeps echoing in my thoughts. In the email, the pastor told the businessman that the former employee was useless as an employee, but now he was altogether useful as a fellow member in Jesus’ family: useless as an employee, but useful as a brother. Seems to me that we often determine the value of a person on their function rather than their relationship with Jesus.
This story is my paraphrase of the story of Philemon in the Bible – a super short epistle from Paul to Philemon, the businessman. Philemon had a slave, Onesimus, who stole from him and ran away, only to bump into Paul, who helped Onesimus become a follower of Jesus. Upon returning Onesimus to his former owner, Philemon, Paul placed the supreme value on Onesimus being a fellow brother in Christ & made his position as a slave a virtual disposable value.
As a follower of Jesus, we need to be better at loving people than using people 🙂
There’s nothing weird or abnormal about us humans asking questions. Indeed, questions communicate an inquiring mind, curiosity & an interest in learning. What seems rogue to me is that Jesus asked questions. Since Jesus is omniscient (all knowing), what’s the point? And yet He asked lots of questions when He did His skin thing with us.
For example, His first question was to His parents when they’d misplaced the Son of God for more than three days – as a mom, I can’t even begin to fathom what that was like for Mary, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
In Luke 2:49, Jesus asked His parents, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
Here are a few takeaways from Jesus’ questions to His earthly parents:
Just because we’ve walked with Jesus for lots of years doesn’t mean that we can’t learn new things about Him everyday!
Jesus is God’s Son & defaults to being around His Fathers interests – best place to find Jesus is where the Father is working
In an interesting twist, why is it that we sometimes don’t look for Jesus? Are we distracted? Are we “satisfied” with flesh & not incarnate?
My kids ask me all kinds of interesting questions: are there amphibians in the mountains, did you & dad kiss before you got married, why do I need to learn to spell, what’s the difference between a plane and a line, etc
Some of their questions get more than dicey so when they say, “Mom, I have a question”, I brace myself & hope it’s not about sex or some edgy dystopia twist they may have read about.
Their questions remind me to stay curious, adventuresome & filled with wonder. Our Heavenly Father has made a vast world for us to discover, enjoy & learn about Who God is. Sometimes it’s easy to get lulled into a detached existence from a seemingly mundane life. So let’s ask God to keep us alert, curious, perky & awake to His work that happens all around & inside us too 🙂