Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
My friend, may I ask you a question today? Our relationship with Jesus Christ ought to be considered with this in mind: will it be as much work as we think? Perhaps living the Christian life of sacrifice isn’t as much something we need to get through as something we will find of benefit getting into?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
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Life is full of what I call revisionist jobs. These are among the jobs that you put off for a variety of reasons. Finally there comes a time when you can’t kick the can down the road anymore and you decide to tackle what you’d been avoiding. There are some jobs avoided for good reason. There are the small handful that tend to be not only on a par with what you thought, but go beyond expectations. These are rare nonetheless and don’t qualify as revisionist. There’s also those few jobs which meet expectations of drudgery and tedium. Also modest in number, these are similarly not revisionist. The remarkable thing about the majority of avoidable jobs however is this: most demonstrate less work, more pleasant results, and require less tedium than we had assumed. These do qualify as revisionist jobs since while we are doing them, and especially when we have completed them, we revise our thinking about them. “On second thought this wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be!” These jobs benefit from a revised opinion or change of mind and allude to ideas that come later once we find the work to be not as we had thought it would be. Revisionist thinking tends to be a part of our human nature nonetheless. We’re often mastered by expectations built on an artificial foundation of wrong thinking. “It will be bad, it will hurt, it will be costly, it will not turn out well.” These are the wrong expectations on which to build a godly life, often culminating in revisionist thinking when things don’t turn out as bad as we think they might.
Similarly, our relationship with Jesus Christ ought to be considered with this in mind: will it be as much work as we think? Perhaps living the Christian life of sacrifice isn’t as much something we need to get through as something we will find of benefit getting into?
Here’s a story. In a Soviet prison camp one day a man prayed with his eyes closed. A fellow prisoner noticed him and said with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, the man answered, “I do not pray to get out of prison but to do the will of God.” (Our Daily Bread, December 29, 1993)
In John 16:26 Jesus reminds us that: “In that day you wil ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” Jesus knew that because of our sinful human nature we would always be inclined to see the cross of his suffering as a burden to bear and not as a doorway into a life that is borne with thanksgiving and a sense of living in and with him. God knows what we need before we pray. So, why is it that he teaches us to pray? We pray not because we long to avoid suffering or even just to endure it. We pray because God wants us to join Christ in his suffering and, in so doing, find it, on second thought, not what we thought it would be. Living a life of sacrifice, even suffering, is an opportunity. When we see it from the perspective of burden there is always the danger that we will avoid it at all costs. Today is a good day to become a revisionist thinker in regard to the cross of Jesus Christ. Don’t kick the can down the road. It will still be there tomorrow.
We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for giving each of us the opportunity to bear the cross of Jesus Christ, even to suffer in his name. Forgive us, Lord, when we kick the can down the road, trying to avoid the opportunities you give to us as disciples in Christ. May the cross of Jesus Christ always remind us that we do not belong to this world, but that the world provides us with many opportunities to leave it better after we leave it. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day.
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