Posted on August 20, 2014
#67: Living Light
For their fiftieth anniversary, John and Barbara planned a trip overseas. During the flight, their plane suffered engine failure. The pilot announced that an emergency landing must be made and that the only land available was an uncharted island. “We’ll survive,” the pilot said, “but it’s unlikely we’ll ever be found. We may spend the rest of our lives on this island.”
John turned to Barbara and asked anxiously, “Darling, before we left home did you pay the electric bill?”
“No, dear, I didn’t,” she said, her lips quavering.
“Well, did you make the house payment?”
“No, I didn’t,” Barbara answered.
“What about the credit cards? Did you pay the credit card bills?” John asked.
“No, I didn’t pay those either.”
John gave Barbara a big kiss, leaned back into his seat and relaxed. “Then they’ll find us,” he sighed.
If you’ve ever been hounded by bill collectors, you can relate! You know how uncomfortable borrowed living can be. But there is one type of “borrowed” living, modeled by Jesus, that can free us.
This week, we’re summing up our study of Mark 11 which tells the initial events of Jesus’ last week in human skin, from Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry to Tuesday’s purging of the temple. Pause now and take a moment to read Mark 11.
In his commentary on Mark’s gospel, Matthew Henry wrote, “Christ went upon the water in a borrowed boat, ate the Passover in a borrowed chamber, was buried in a borrowed sepulchre, and here rode on a borrowed ass.” In addition, during this stressful week that Jesus knew would lead to His crucifixion, He borrowed the comfort of home; He left Jerusalem at the end of each day and went to Bethany to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus—leaning on the emotional support and spiritual boost of close, believing friends.
We can learn much from the life of Jesus in this area alone. We pile up possessions that add a load of stress to our lives. We worry and wear ourselves out paying for them, protecting them, maintaining them, and storing them. Then when stress takes its toll, when the bills become too much, when we’re drowning in demands, we draw away from friends. We struggle alone rather than reveal our vulnerability, our need for spiritual support and strength from Christian friends. In fact, in pressured times we often find people—including our friends—downright irritating.
Our goal for this study, Knowing Jesus, is to learn all we can from Jesus—our visible God in flesh (see last week’s post, The Beginning, Revisited). Jesus knew His time here was short and His Home was elsewhere. He kept life simple, possessing very few things, living light. When pressures mounted, He took comfort in strong friendships He’d built.
We too need to remember that our time here is short. James calls our lives “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (Jas. 4:14) This world is not our home; investing all our energies here is a waste of time—”meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Eccles. 2:17). If we keep our lives simple and our possessions few like Jesus did, we’ll ease our burdens in this life and focus more easily on the next. We’ll also more easily find time to build strong relationships that help carry us through troubles.
Are possession-related pressures draining your energy? Do you need to simplify, to adjust your focus, to invest in relationships rather than things? What can you learn from Jesus about living light?
© Diane McLoud 2014