Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jesus' Single-Mindedness

My front yard

It is so common for Jesus-followers in American (and Western) culture to: 1) do many things; and then 2) spend little time with God. This is backwards, and a formula for spiritual irrelevance and inauthenticity.

Jesus did it this way: 1) live constantly in the Father's presence; and then 2) act in obedience. Henri Nouwen writes that "only then did it become clear to [Jesus] what his task what in relationship to other people." (Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life, 78)

God said it this way: 1) the first, and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and then 2) love others. Nouwen writes:

"I wonder if we really believe this. It seems that in fact we live as if we should give as much of our heart, soul, and mind as possible to our fellow human beings, while trying hard not to forget God... But Jesus' claim is much more radical. He asks for a single-minded commitment to God and God alone. God wants all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul. It is this unconditioned and unreserved love for God that leads to the care of our neighbor, not as an activity which distracts us from God or competes with our attention to God, but as an expression of our love for God who is revealed to us as the God of all people." (Ib., 78-79)

As a pastor my main task is to: 1) actively and consistently love God, in relationship, by spending much time with him; and then 2) introduce my people to life lived in the earth-shattering, loving presence of God.