Do you think Jesus would have carried a pocket calendar? Would he have consulted it before making his commitments? Would he have bypassed the leper because his calendar said he was late for the Nazareth spring banquet?
Do you think Jesus would have worn a wristwatch? What would have been his reaction if the temple service extended past noon and alarms went off in the crowd? Would he have driven out the clock watchers along with the money changers?
Do you think Jesus would have carried a smart phone? Would Martha and Mary have texted Him to come and raise Lazarus from the dead? Can you imagine him having to step out of the Last Supper to take a call that just couldn’t wait?
The clock and Christ are not close friends. Imagine what God thinks of us now that we are so locked into schedules that we have locked ourselves out of the Sermon on the Mount—it is hardly possible to walk the second mile today without offending one’s calendar.
We jump at the alarm on our phones but sleep through the call of the Almighty.
(I modified this passage to reflect current technology use—but the questions remain valid.)
When God created each of us, he gave us a will, and that beautiful and mysterious inner life we call the soul. Just as you would want to give your growing son or daughter room to make his or her own decisions, God steps back a bit to let us make ours.
These simple moments of decision are filled with significance. When I choose to avoid whatever it is God has brought up, something in me weakens. Something feels compromised. It is at least a refusal to mature. But it also feels like a refusal to step toward God.
Thankfully, the opposite is true. When I choose to face the uncertain, admit the neglect or enter into my fears, something in me grows up a little bit. I feel strengthened. The scales tip toward a closer walk with God.
Whatever else we do with these moments, let us be honest about one thing—there is no getting to it later. We don’t get to it later. It simply goes away. And I wonder—how often do we say to ourselves, “I’ll simply do it later,” knowing that it will never happen, and thus we appease our conscience in the moment and avoid the issue, let it slip away under the ruse of “later.”
So, how do we walk with God in the day to day, in the moment? We go with it. Now. As it is unfolding. That is the only way to have any real relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus says: Discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend—it must transcend all comprehension. Plunge into the deep waters beyond your own comprehensions, and I will help you to comprehend even as I do.
Bewilderment is the true comprehension. Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge. My comprehension transcends yours. Thus Abraham went forth from his father and not knowing whither he went. He trusted himself to my knowledge, and cared not for his own, and thus took the right road and came to his journey’s end.
Behold that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it yourself, so you must let me lead you as though you were a blind man. Wherefore it is not you, no man, no living creature, but I myself, who instruct you by my Word and Spirit in the way you should go.
Not the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but the road which is clean contrary to all that you choose or contrive or desire—that is the road you must take. To that I call you and in that you must be my disciple.
When the Reformation came, the providence of God raised Martin Luther to restore the gospel of pure, costly grace. Luther passed through cloister; he was a monk, and all this was part of the divine plan. Luther had left all to follow Christ on the path of absolute obedience.
He had renounced the world in order to live the Christian life. He had learnt obedience to Christ and to his Church, because only he who is obedient can believe. The call to the cloister demanded of Luther the complete surrender of his life.
But God shattered all his hopes. He showed him through the Scriptures that the following of Christ is not the achievement or merit of a select few, but the divine command to all Christians without distinction.
Monasticism had transformed the humble work of discipleship into the meritorious activity of the saints, and the self-renunciation of discipleship into the flagrant spiritual self-assertion of the “religious.” The world had crept into the very heart of the monastic life, and was once more making havoc.
The monk’s attempt to flee from the world turned out to be a subtle form of love for the world.
We often contrast ‘believers’ to ‘nonbelievers,’ but that can be misleading. Everyone believes something, in the sense that they must assume some principle as fundamentally true. Atheist often fail to recognize that they are in the same boat as everyone else. A common mantra of atheist websites goes like this: ‘Atheism is not a belief. Atheism is merely a lack of belief in God or gods.’
But it is impossible to think without some starting point. If you do not start with God, you must start somewhere else. You must propose something else as the ultimate, eternal, uncreated reality that is the cause and source of everything else.
The important question is not which starting points are religious or secular, but which claims stand up to testing.
Character is the bridge that provides the point of trust that links leaders with followers.
It is not in our life that God’s help and presence must still be proved, but rather God’s presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, to His Son Jesus Christ, than to seek what God intends for us today.
The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I shall die, and the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the Last Day. Our salvation is “external to ourselves.”
I find no salvation in my life history, but only in the history of Jesus Christ.