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  Juggling For or Against Jesus

Matthew 12:30
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”

Most of us who are living in today’s world know what it means to juggle our daily life in an ever increasingly hectic and unstable global village. We perform (often simultaneously) several roles which demand our attention to various degrees. We may be children of our parents, siblings to our brothers and sisters, spouses to our husbands or wives, mothers of our children, colleagues to those at work, local church members and neighbours all at once, whether we are God’s children or not. It is a possibility that often, our non-Christian friends or relatives may be better in running their lives as they seem to be more focussed in the temporal issues. They wish to be successful in the world and they shall spend all their resources just to get the goals which are visible and tangible.

However, Christians often appear to be in a sorry state of mind because our lives are so divided into what is right and what is wrong, what’s falsely categorised as secular and what’s Christian. The people who purport to know God are often more schizophrenic in our loyalties than the non-Christians around us. We are not really reconciled within ourselves as to how to be in the world but not of the world. We seem to have an unspoken agreement among ourselves like… “If we can’t win them, let’s join them”!

Hence, there’s not much point talking about how to juggle our commitments if we do not have a higher purpose that motivates our daily juggling. Human as we are, we all long for some stability. Think about it today…is it not true?

The main and perhaps only difference between them and us seems to lie in the answer to the questions:

  1. Who and/or what are we juggling for?
  2. Why am I juggling for that who or what in my daily life?
  3. How do I then juggle?

And, mind you, knowing the answers to these three questions does not mean that we will live perfect lives worthy of Christ, fully pleasing Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. But it will hold us accountable for our weaknesses and sins as we juggle for Him. It will also humble us to accept the reality that we need to live with God everyday no matter in what circumstances. We will not have several bosses to please!

Pause

In order to slow down our lives, I suggest asking ourselves these questions to clarify our thinking and decision-making process.

 

1.Who and what/or are we juggling for?

Zechariah was a type of believer who seeks God’s meaning in what he sees and hears around him. We see a man who had to handle many scenes at the same time, going from one vision to another. But we do not feel rushed as we flow with the scenes, Why? I believe it is because Zechariah walked closely with his Lord and had got used to trusting Him. He walked at His pace; he pondered over the meaning of things that He showed him. Yet finally, in the last few verses of this record, the Lord told him the secret of one who follows Him and believed that everything, including cooking pots, were to be used for the Him. Everything was given back to Him. He owns all (Zechariah 14:9; 14:20-21)). No trading was needed as there was no need to differentiate between what was theirs or what was their neighbours. Everyone used what God had given them as and when necessary. There was an absence of the tension resulting from comparison and energy sapping competition. This is one of the trademarks of the people of Jehovah God.

The above scenario ties in with what Paul proclaimed in Romans 11:33-35…

“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable are His judgements and how inscrutable His ways!

   ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?

    Or who has been His counsellor?’

    ‘Or who has given a gift to Him

     To receive a gift in return?’

              For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

                To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Hence, if we know who we are juggling for, we would not waste our energy trying to please many people in our lives fruitlessly even though, often, that rushing around may happen in one short day of 24 hours. Therefore, know our Lord and Master, the Owner of the universe!

 

2.But Why are We Juggling for God?

Let us read John 15:12-17 to convince ourselves of our Master’s desire to be our Friend…

“You are My friends if you do what I command you…but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father…I chose you…I appoint you…”

Why are we juggling for God and what is the motivation for juggling for Him? It is because He is our God, our loving Father and Friend whom we never had before. How would you feel towards him? Would you obey Him just because He feeds and clothes you? Or would you gratefully obey Him because He sincerely treats you as His precious child? Let us see how God transforms one of His disciples from one who served Him out of duty to one who serves Him out of love and gratitude, imperfect though she was…

 

3.How then are we Juggling Our Lives Daily?

Let us look at Martha of Bethany…
Martha was a woman who couldn’t stand others relaxing. She felt others were not working as hard as she was. She took pride in her housework and demanded her siblings to chip in. The household was set to be an unhappy one with her around. Outwardly Martha’s home look exemplary; but there was no joy.

The Busy Grumbling Martha Syndrome

Martha was in control of her sister, brother and guests. Compare:

The Martha of Luke 10:38-42  with  The Martha of John 12:1-3
She was of uncontrolled irritability.  
Being perfectionistic, she was emotionally insecure as a single woman in a traditional Jewish family.
  She was able to speak out her true feelings in her grief. At last, her dam broke showing her weakness. Martha was ready to give her full attention to Jesus and was willing to believe in Him whose eternal friendship she finally received.

 He would always be with her…even if Lazarus died. Her pathological grief was thus deeply healed. Finally, Mary feels secure as a woman in this temporal broken world because she would never be alone again!

Conclusive observation:

Being and feeling safe with Jesus, she had learnt to do the same task of serving without grumbling any more. What a joy!

 

Some Suggestions for Fellow Jugglers

  • Make effort to open and read your Bible daily. Keep a diary for journaling your conversation with God.
  • Hang a whiteboard on your kitchen or dining room wall.
    In the morning, make notes on what to do for the day.
  • Write in your diary at night if you can.
    Make notes on what you have done.
    Present them to Jesus (through silent or spoken prayers)
  • Accept yourself as Jesus accepts you, with weaknesses and strengths.
    Focus on what you want to do.
    Be humble privately or publicly.
    Be flexible in lifestyle i.e. don’t worry if you cannot achieve what you set out to do.
    Persevere if disappointed, forgive others and yourself regularly.
  • Differentiate between the essentials and non-essentials of daily life
  • Converse with Jesus, the Lover of your soul. Seek His counsel (truth), wisdom, enabling grace in all issues that bother you at any occasion
  • Leave your problems and questions with Him…He is big enough to handle them all.
  • Sleep well for He gives to His beloved sleep!

Ponder on the prayer of an ancient priest:

“Lord, grant me the

                  Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

                 Courage to change the things I can and

                 Wisdom to know the difference.”

Therefore, if we wish to have enough energy to change what we can, we need to leave the wastage of energy used for trying to change what we cannot. If we reverse our mismatched actions, we will know more fully His peace and abundant life each day and dwell in His contentment and restfulness!

Listen to what Isaiah 30:15 says…

 

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
  In quietness and trust is your strength,

  But you would have none of it.

You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
  Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
  Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee at the threat of one;
  At the threat of five you will all flee away,

Till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountain top,
  Like a banner on a hill.”

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
  He rises to show you compassion
For the Lord is a God of justice.
  Blessed are all who wait on Him!”

 

Shalom in Christ