Devotional Thought of the Day:
20 Then Jesus went home. Again such a large crowd gathered that Jesus and his disciples had no time to eat. 21 When his family heard about it, they set out to take charge of him, because people were saying, “He’s gone mad!” Mark 3:20-21 (TEV)
910 Your ideal, your vocation: it’s madness. And your friends, your brothers: they’re crazy. Haven’t you heard that cry deep down within you sometimes? Answer firmly that you are grateful to God for the honor of being one of those “lunatics.”
It’s been a while since mad was a synonym for crazy, but the idea is that you are not in control of your emotions, and your emotions are in control of you.
It sounds like an odd description for Jesus, the one who is fully God, fully man! Especially the fully God part. Can God really be mad, crazy, a lunatic? There were times people were sure he was insane, a raving madman.
Who else would tell people to love their enemies? To not stand against what was evil? Who would demonstrate these were not just sayings, but would actually prove the logic of the madness.
And while we may doubt the sanity of some of his followers, Jesus did tell us the world wouldn’t understand our madness, even to the point they would persecute us.
There is another word for the madness, in Hebrew, it is cHesed; in Greek, agape; in Olde English, it was Charity; in modern English, the depth of the word love. An affection, a care for someone where you do what is best for them, no matter the cost. Where you put their salvation before your comfort, and often times, their comfort before you own need, or wants, or desire.
Not just those like you, Jesus makes that clear in Matthew 5. All people.
Which means you must know His love, and how it put you first, without any thought of cost. To know God’s love…because He loves us, we love Him.
This is madness to the world, but it is God’s logic, God’s love… it is reality.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 2116-2118). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the day>
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and because he is coming to rule as King, I solemnly urge you 2 to preach the message, to insist upon proclaiming it (whether the time is right or not), to convince, reproach, and encourage, as you teach with all patience. 3 The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. 4 They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends. 5 But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (TEV)
\573 Please don’t abandon the task, don’t deviate from the way, even though you have to live with people who are full of prejudices: as if you thought the basis of arguments or the meaning of words were fixed by their behaviour or by their assertions. Do try to get them to understand you… but if you don’t manage it, carry on anyway. (1)
There is a point in minsitry that occurs when you realizing you are bashing your head against the wall.
An example – someone comes to you looking for spiritual guidance, and you offer it, and they go – thanks, and then going back to the same behavior that caused them to come to you in the first place.
Or someone who saks you to help them understand a Bible passage, you take the time to work it through with them, and then watch them return to the confusion, only to ask the same question in a similar manner a few weeks down the road.
It has been said that insanity can be defined by doing the same thing repeatedly, but hoping for a different outcome. In this case, many pastors, priests, teachers, counselors are not just simply insance, but completely insane.
There see to be two options to this insanity, first – keep doing the work in the same way, but give up caring about the results, or second, change things regularly, looking for the precise combination that will work in your community, in your parish, in your classroom. Sometimes we even bounce betwen the two, depending on who we last heard that appears to be successful, that appears to at least give an answer to our dilemna.
This glass half full/half open pendulum, and the second guessing and thinking that our “return on inventment” must result in a immediate reult that is satifactory dominates our churches. We are blown about by winds of, not of doctrine, but of some definitions and measurements of “faithfulness” and “success.”. We are hurt because we get into these fields beause we desire to change the world, and would like to at least change some lives. We know the answer is Jesus, (as does every pre-schooler !) we know where people will find the answers, we are trained to give them both clearly and in a way that should appeal to people.
And then we wonder if they will ever hear us…
And eventually we wonder if we are insane (in the sense above) or we act on the lack of success and desperately try new ways. Even to the point where we don’t give them time to see if they will work.
The nearly identical advice is seen above, ( I saw St. Josemaria’s first – my Bible devotional reading was somewhere else ). Our endurance in the midst of our preaching, teaching, counseling is not based on their changed lives. It’s not about “faithfully” doing it by dialing it in either. It is about realizing our role is to give the message, Because Jesus is coming back, and that is news that is incredible to anyone who trusts in Him, and if they don’t hear it, they won’t be able to trust in it.
Days preaching and teaching and counsling aren’t supposed to be easy, they often demand great sacrfiice, it often requires us to carry on, to keep looking at Christ and realizing the treasure that they need. Ministry and teaching and cousneling isn’t about our strength, its about the glory of God in which we work, sustaining us, encuraging, helping us endure, and driving us when needed. We are going to have to suffer in this role. Not just because of persecution, but because of those who do not hear the message, who we weep for, even as Christ weeped over Jerusalem. We need to realize that this struggle is okay.
That’s the example we have in Christ, and in our Father in Heaven. They have kept calling us, hounding us even though the results haven’t been all that spectacularly different. We still sin, we still forget about God, we still struggle, then repent, then worship. And still God loves and calls, and forgives and comforts and is here with us. He doesn’t change.. He never will… although the results can’t be seen b y us yet, He knows them, and dances with joy as He realizes those who trust in Him, who treasure His love.
In Him, we find the strength and the patience to avoid the insanity of reacting to what the world things is insane. So let us keep our eyes on HIm, He who begins faith and completes it is us, and in those who hear our message.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 2448-2452). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- WE WERE ROBBED! yeah…so? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Will God hear even me today, in this mood I am in? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Have you been neglecting yourself? (justifiedandsinner.com)