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Seizing the Moment like Jesus December 18, 2006

Posted by Joe in Random Musings, Scripture Meditation.
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Lar,

I do think it would be best for you to use that last quote in any upcoming sermon! The centrality of God’s glory to all existence is a truth that I cannot hear enough about–ever. In particular, our calling to not only recognize His greatness, but to admire Him and enjoy every minute of gazing upon His glory, is one that needs particular emphasis in our day and age. Many have the right answers, but this is simply not enough. As a church, we desperately need more Christians who both think and feel with greater depth.

That leads me to my thought for the day. Well, actually it doesn’t. I was looking for a cool transition, but I couldn’t really find one. Then again, if God’s glory is truly central to all things, my thoughts will end up there. Shallow dude I am, I couldn’t find a good transition. Pray for me, a lot. Anyhow, the Lord was working on me this morning through a simple verse in Luke. It goes like this, “And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him” (Luke 22:14).

It’s nothing striking I know, at least not at first glance, but when you realize that this takes place the night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest and hours before his being mocked and strung up to a cross, it begins to take on greater significance. The thought hit me: if I, like Jesus, knew that all sorts of evil was waiting for me in just a few short hours, would I really be able to engage and recline at table with my closest friends?

Here is the answer: probably no way! I would be a mess–at least I would think. Of course, the Lord would grant grace, I trust, as He does for one who will be martyred or greatly persecuted today. Either way though, how was Jesus able to some peacefully engage in the Last Supper? We need to know.

My conviction is that this incident was simply the normal process of Jesus’ life. Throughout the whole of His life and crazy ministry schedule, we never find Jesus fretting about any particular incident or worrying about something else He needed to do. He was always engaged. He was always focused on the task and doing the will of the Father. He didn’t (like I tend to do) do one thing while thinking about another. He discerned what to do and then went for it with a focused mind and a whole heart. O to be like Christ!

Can you imagine the freedom in this? Indeed, can you also imagine the production? We’ve heard the phrase, Carpe Diem, that is, ‘seize the day’, or more accurately, ‘seize the moment’, but what if we really were able to practice that? Imagine what a life of blessing that would be! The way I see it is that such a mentality is impossible apart from a solid understanding and embracing of God’s providence. If we do not trust that He is the One in full control of all things, we will have a hard time embracing His ordained appointments. The interruptions. The phone calls. The person who stops by who we would rather not see. Etc. Etc. You all know what I am talking. And Jesus surely knew this a whole lot more than we do. He traveled while being surrounded by needy people–all the time! And He held His peace. He embraced the will of the Father and was continually and completely engaged in His respective tasks. Maybe this is what made His life so very powerful and productive. He only ministered three years, but He got more done in those three years than we get done in a lifetime.

The preacher in Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything. If we could but believe that and then discern what time it is, I can’t help but think we would enter into a life of new freedom. This will take effort. It will take a mental war and some serious preparation and planning. But by God’s grace, I think it can be done. We can be people who seize the moment, people who are present in the present. Too often I am doing something while I think about something else I need to do. In the end, what do I get done? Maybe something. But surely a whole lot less than is possible to do!

We are disjointed creatures by nature, both inside and out. The Lord wants to make us whole and focused and centered like Jesus. It won’t be easy. It will require a serious battle of the mind, telling ourselves continually, ‘Focus in. Seize the moment. Be here right now.” But how else will we make the most of these evil days? How else will we be able to minister to those we are supposed to minister to when they need to be ministered to. Or how else will we be able to do what we need to do when we need to do. We are desperate to have an ‘ever-presentness’ like Jesus. Not an omnipresence, but an ever-presentness, a continual dwelling in the now. May the Lord grant us the grace to grow in seizing each moment for the sake of His great name!

Seeking to seize the moment with you,

Joe

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