27.2.05

A Call to Faithfulness

It is likely the Roman Empire as a whole, and the majority of the people in it, took absolutely no notice of the crucifixion of yet another trio of political revolutionaries. That one of them would, in name, spirit, and fact, far outlast the empire itself could scarcely have entered the mind of anyone but His most devout followers. Still less would this empire or its people have noticed the clamor of those same followers three days later, as they shouted “He is risen!!!” Yet, in 300 years, the emperor himself would bow before this crucified criminal.

It took years for the followers of this executed man to become big enough to even be a target for persecution by Rome, which was hardly a large matter if we remember how many other rebellions Rome crushed around this time, including the destruction of the Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Historically, this all seems very fast. And, indeed, it is. A group of people were formed, grew, took over and survived the greatest empire of the day, and continued on in various forms to become a major shaping influence in nothing less than the whole of western civilization. 2000 years later here we stand; and the Crucified man still stands in our midst, as real as He ever was.

In the midst of contemplating this glorious narrative, take a step back. Remember something. Incredible as this all seems, it is still very slow for you and I. Many of Christ’s followers didn’t live to see Christianity become even a major target or persecution. None lived to see it flourish. Those who did live to see it surpass Rome didn’t see the crystallization of doctrines which occurred over the course of seven ecumenical councils. And on it goes.

Back at the beginning now: Jesus lived in a different world than those around Him. He saw through eyes of love. He called those around him to a new way of life, toa new life, to Life itself. His call was a radical one; He knew it, and frequently told his followers, going so far as to use the most torturous imagery available in the day. Living as He did got Him killed, whether by Jews or Romans, for political reasons or theological. But His new way of life didn’t spread like wildfire, permeating the empire in days. Jesus was called, by God, to be faithful. He was, unto death on a cross. We are called to be faithful; unto whatever end God has for us. This call, to faithfulness and obedience, to be the light and salt, to bless the world and people around us, is the most important call given to us. Because all the truly important changes are to big for us. Certainly, God may bless us with accomplishments; success’s we can see, touch, and point to. But those are not what we are called to. We are to walk as Jesus walked. See the world in a light so different that we don’t live in the same one as everyone else. Living Life and offering it freely to those around us.

Don’t look for miracles; God will give you what you need. Don’t look for astounding success or complete turnarounds. You might see them, you might not. If you are being faithful and obedient it is very likely that you are contributing to successes and changes that are so important and so huge you can’t even imagine them. Not huge because you are going to change the world, but because God is; not important because we see them as such, but because God does. And all of this you will likely never see as long as you reside in this world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you been reading the tail end of Hebrews 10 and the start of ch. 11? If not, you should - it's pretty much in line with what you're writing about and what I've been re-reading the last little while... ~ John