Journeying with Jesus
The Christian life is a call to journey with Jesus. Over the last ten weeks our Sunday readings from Luke’s Gospel have given us an insight into an important aspect of this journey, primarily that as disciples of Christ we are called to proclaim to the people we meet that the Kingdom of God is upon us. “Proclamation” is more than just an announcement: it is to live out a message. This means that our actions and attitudes are more important than our words; and that our relationship with God is visible even in the hidden moments of our lives: a somewhat daunting thought!
What is the “Kingdom of God”? None of the Gospel writers, including Luke, give us a clear, unequivocal description. Instead they portray Jesus as the visible sign of the Kingdom, and through his life – particularly in his interaction with others – we are afforded glimpses of what the Kingdom is. We begin to see that the Kingdom is about love-filled relationships that build justice and true hope in our world. The Kingdom is created through relationships that value love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (An Anglican Prayer Book 1989, pg 144). By incorporating these values into our relationships our lives become glimpses of the Kingdom both for ourselves and for others. This journey with Jesus is one of continual discovery.
What does our journey with Jesus mean for the various other journeys we are on with ourselves and also with others? Jesus’ comment in Luke 9:62, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (TNIV) makes us fear that we will have to leave these other journeys behind. Journeys that conflict with the values of the Kingdom need to be abandoned. However, many – if not most – of our journeys are complementary, and if we are committed and available to Jesus, God draws the journeys of our life together, interweaving them with the Kingdom journey that we are called to.
Too often we forget to make our Kingdom journey the priory of our lives, and we find ourselves pulled in conflicting directions. Rather than this being a conflict in values, it is a conflict of priority. As we increasingly permit our journey with Jesus to become the umbrella under which all our other journeys are allowed to shelter, we will gradually discover over time that the various journeys of our lives are redirected and are progressively guided by our Kingdom journey. The question always is, “How?”
We need to make time to reflect upon our lives, review our priorities, allow the Spirit of God to transform us. This is the call of Christian Stewardship: a call to review our relationship with God, and to reflect upon how we give leadership to our time, our gifting and talents, to our treasure. Our use of time says a great deal about our priorities; the manner in which we deal with our relationships and utilise our belongings says a great deal about our values; our approach to life says a great deal about our relationship with our Creator, Restorer and Sustainer.
Where are you in your journey with Jesus?