A Legacy of ACTION L4L.30

The WORDHealthy_feet

“Jesus Prays For His Disciples: ‘I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.’” John 17:6-10 (New International Version)

There is practically no part of the Gospels more revealing of the heart and mission of Jesus than this prayer for His followers, as found in John chapter 17. As has been our Lenten discipline, let’s hear these words of Jesus again, through the paraphrase of The Message:

“I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them, and they took it and were convinced that I came from you. They believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world but for those you gave me, for they are yours by right. Everything mine is yours, and yours mine, and my life is on display in them.”

The APP

The forty days of Lent are nearly over.

Tomorrow we remember the words Jesus spoke over His last supper with friends.

On Friday we will commemorate the sacrificial death of our Savior, Jesus.

And on this day we complete our Literal 4 Lent adventure, looking forward to the resurrection celebration that is about to explode onto the scene, in our churches and in our hearts, come Sunday.

Jesus has provided the perfect words of summary for us in this prayer poured out on behalf of those whose lives had blossomed in concert with His own years of ministry on the earth. As Jesus speaks to His Father on behalf of His students, we can’t help but catch a glimpse of the legacy being left behind. A legacy marked by words like:

Revealed. Obeyed. Now they know. Gave and accepted. Knew with certainty. Believed. Done what you said. Firsthand. Convinced.

All of these are ways the Messiah chose to describe His work with His disciples to His Father. And all of these words indicate Jesus’ pleasure at the responses and activity of those who were closest to Him.

Not only is Jesus saying that His followers finally ‘got it,’ leaving His words as an endorsement of their future ministry in the world, but He is summing up His own work as well. And in the summary we find a legacy worth embracing, continuing, and one day, leaving behind – just as Jesus did.

This legacy of Jesus is not a legacy of opinions, ideas or bullet points.

Jesus didn’t just leave behind for His followers a legacy of good memories and amazing stories, to be told and re-told for generations to come.

Jesus didn’t pass along material items of worth, to be guarded and regarded as treasure throughout the centuries.

No, Jesus’ legacy to us is a legacy of ACTION. A legacy of revelation and obedience, knowing and accepting, giving and believing, convincing and DOING.

This prayer of Jesus reveals that He knew full well He had completed His mission. He did what He was sent to do.

His mission was to prepare us to complete OURS.

Click here to return to the Literal 4 Lent menu.

Advertisements

K.I.S.S. L4L.10

Keeping it Simple

Image by mike cogh via Flickr

The WORD

‘Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple. And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.’” Mark 6:6b-11 (The Message)

The disciples of Jesus had been walking in His dust for awhile now, paying attention to His teachings and learning how to be like their Rabbi. Now it was time for them to put on their sandals and walk in His footsteps. Let’s read their commissioning and instructions again, in the New International Version:

Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions:

‘Take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.’”

This had to be an exhilarating AND anxious time for the followers of Jesus. On the one hand, Jesus thought they were ready to do what He did! The chicks were ready to leave the nest! Try out their wings! Go on a field trip!

On the other hand, Jesus wasn’t going with them. What if they were met with a demon that wouldn’t leave, or a sickness that wouldn’t be healed? What if people questioned their authority or snubbed their witness, saying that they were only wanna-be-ministers (after all, they were fishermen and tax collectors by trade)?

At once they had to feel energized and empowered, inadequate and concerned. Did Jesus really know what He was doing?

Religious tradition has always dictated the procedures by which ministers are prepared and approved. Some are based in Scripture. Some are the ideas of men. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Jesus set the precedent with these students of the Gospel – a precedent we would do well to pay attention to.

The APP

He’s the BOSS!

The authority by which men and women are called into ministry belongs to God alone. In this story of preparing, commissioning and sending, we can identify four qualifications of a minister of Christ. He/She must be:

  1. Filled with the Spirit’s authority and power
  2. Called to this particular work
  3. Instructed in the nuances of this particular work
  4. Commissioned to GO as a witness, testifying to the Gospel and grace of God.

Are you surprised? Where does it say I need to attend Bible College? Don’t I need an M.Div. behind my name? Isn’t there an internship program I need to sign up for? What about the certificate that should be hanging on my wall?

Who does the filling? God does, through His Spirit.

Who does the calling? God does.

Who does the instructing? God does. In the case of the Twelve, it was Jesus – the Word become flesh. In our case? The Spirit & the Word.

Who does the commissioning? God does. As it was with the Twelve, He’s the only One who can know when we’re ready to GO.

Let Him Bring Home the Bacon!

One of the names of God from Scripture is Jehovah Jireh – The God Who Provides (or, literally, The Lord Who Will See To It). Jesus’ instructions to His inner circle set them up to see first-hand that God will meet all of their physical needs while they minister in His Name. Food? He’ll take care of it. Money? You won’t need it. Extra clothing? Unnecessary. If you have a need, it will be met. Because God is just that good.

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple, Sister! (Well, that may not be exactly the way you remember it, but you get the idea.)

Jesus’ instructions to the Twelve weren’t very complicated, were they? Not much room for guess-work. Not much room for confusion. The call to ministry – any area of ministry if it comes from God, is almost always going to be simpler than we thought it would be.

The parameters set by Jesus for this ministry experience were short and sweet:

  • You have authority.
  • Carry a stick.
  • Wear sandals.
  • Stay in the first place that makes sense.
  • If people listen, keep talking.
  • If people don’t listen, walk away and don’t look back.

It’s hard to imagine that Jesus’ youth group could mess this one up! We, on the other hand, make it SO COMPLICATED… Don’t you see that if the details of our ministry boggle our minds, maybe it’s because that ministry is OURS, not GOD’S?

No Drama Queens, Please

Rejection smacks. It hurts! It stings! And it often brings out the worst in us.

Jesus says, don’t take it personally. It isn’t about you. It’s not your concern. Do your best. Speak the truth. That’s your mission – leave it at that.

  • If they listen, stay.
  • If they don’t listen, leave.

No tears, no heavy sigh, no big scene. No Drama Queens, please.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen some pretty intense theater in the church; some painfully complex ministries; some extremely ‘fat’ program budgets; some terribly bossy followers.

Is it any wonder that what we do instead fails to heal bodies, send demons packing and restore the spirits of the broken?

If we believe that Jesus’ way is best, I don’t understand why we continue to do life (and ministry) our way.

Do you?

Click here to return to the Literal 4 Lent menu.