Jesus at the centre of every moment
Jesus at the centre of every moment
9 October 2020
When I was a teenager I used to ask, “Is life complicated, or do I just make it that way?” Well, it could have been a bit of both – life was often complicated, but sometimes my reactions made a bad situation worse!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered life is complicated, and there are many things I don’t understand.
Here’s a recent one. Let me introduce you to Jack*. I talk to Jack each week when I’m out at pubs, and he tells me that he is a confirmed atheist. Jack is 84 years old, but when he was a young man, he gave his heart to Jesus at a Billy Graham rally. He went along to church, met a girl, got married and had a child. However, Jack told me that his wife “ran off with someone else” from the church. The people in the church didn’t know how to cope with this in the 1970s and Jack felt their confusion, awkwardness and judgement. He stopped going to church and then decided there is no God.
Enter stage left, the Salvos each week, talking, having a joke with Jack, speaking about God. Behind the scenes, we were praying for Jack, that God would heal his pain and that he would know the love of God. I so wanted Jack to turn back to Jesus.
In October, we didn’t see Jack for a few weeks. His best friend was absolutely certain that he was on holidays. But, after five weeks, I popped into the local hospital and discovered that Jack had been in there the whole time. He couldn’t believe the Salvos had found him and he had a bit of a tear in his eye. I told him we were praying for him and he smiled. I squeezed his hand and said I’d be back. But Jack died that night. And everything in me thinks, ‘but God, I so wanted Your healing on earth for Jack. We prayed for him, and yet there seemed to be no change in his heart’.
Life is full of things we don’t understand. Seemingly unanswered prayers, cancer diagnoses, loved ones far away from God, anxiety, depression, loss and suffering, conflict with people you love, drought that seems to go on forever.
It makes so much sense that Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).
Keep company with me, Jesus tells us. Keep me at the centre of everything you do. Walk every moment with me.
To be honest, it takes the pressure off. It’s not up to me to transform people, and I don’t have to understand everything that’s happening in my life. It’s true there are so many things I won’t understand this side of heaven. But I need to keep Jesus at the centre of everything – my focus, my ministry, my relationships.
Jesus promises that this is the way to keep tender-hearted, to not become bitter or cynical. It’s the way to recover our lives, not be consumed by worry or other people’s expectations.
Living with Jesus at the centre means we read his Word, the Bible, regularly and we live with a current experience of listening to the Holy Spirit. Living with Jesus at the centre means that God will bring those scriptures back to mind when we talk with others, and we don’t have to rely on our own wisdom. His presence becomes reliable and real in our life. Living with Jesus means we can breathe out, and feel the burden lifted from our shoulders.
Living with Jesus at the centre means we learn to live freely and lightly, walking with him daily, knowing that it’s Jesus who saves and transforms lives.
* Not his real name