The thing about greatness, success, power, money, influence, is in the details, like the devil. Losing sight of people and gestures that touch and bless those with none of the above. Too often with fame and great achievement comes a disconnect, a chasing after glitter, despising the gutter.
Some people think that God is like that. “He’s too busy running the world to have time for me.” “Who am I?” “He has far more important things to do?” “I’m not good enough, spiritual enough.” “After all I have done, if there is a God, I doubt I’d be in his good books.”
Sadly, those messages are often reinforced by some who claim to believe in God and to follow him. Even the first disciples fell prey to exclusive thinking that led them to pick and choose who had access to Jesus. Time and again Jesus rebuked his disciples, or bypassed them in granting access to those without influence or the ability to earn attention in their own strength. This is important. Because Jesus taught and modelled the heart of his message, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” In other words his actions and attitude reflect the love of God, his personality, and how he thinks and regards people.
The most famous incident took place in the rolling hills near Capernaum overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Huge crowds had come to see and hear Jesus. After some long days Jesus was concerned about their welfare and wanted to provide food for them. The disciples dismissed the idea as too much and too expensive. Which was when Jesus asked them what was available? He took a little boy’s lunch and multiplied the offering into enough to feed over five thousand and more. Perhaps the disciples were more focused on the numbers, the turnout, the growing impact, their pride of place alongside Jesus – the Rockstar? None of that was on Jesus’ heart or list of priorities. His concern? These guys must be tired and hungry, let’s bless them with a meal. That’s what God is like.
One day Jesus was about to leave the town of Jericho. There were large crowds gathered, as was becoming the new norm. A blind man shouted out to attract Jesus’ attention. Those around the man tried to stop him from making a scene. The disciples may well have been surrounding Jesus as the crowd pressed in and muttered, “Not now, come to the meeting scheduled for tonight.” Jesus had ears that heard every whisper, even in a crowd. He stopped and called the blind man to him. Interestingly, he asked what the man wanted (as if it were not obvious). Lesson: God often requires that we articulate what is on our hearts and minds to him first. “I want to see.” Jesus affirmed the man’s faith and he left wide eyed and seeing. His name was Bartimaeus, nobody special in the eyes of those around him (were they blind?). That’s what God is like. He has time, the ears to hear, the desire to pick anyone out in the crowd and treat them as special.
People kept interrupting Jesus. Many of his most powerful and meaningful healings took place while he was on the way somewhere else, or busy with important stuff. What does that tell us? Remember when he was gathered with influential leaders having a question and answer dialogue and suddenly the roof above him was torn open? Shouts of protest were ignored as a paralyzed man was lowered at Jesus’ feet. His focus was not on the destruction of the house or the interruption of a great point he was making. It was on the desperation of the man and his friends. They were so determined to gain access and receive the healing that was only possible through a touch or word from this anointed teacher. There may never be another opportunity. Jesus healed him. The man who was paralyzed rolled up his mat and walked out rejoicing. That’s what God is like. The brokenness of the man was more important that a few roof tiles that could easily be replaced, and no doubt were, by his friends.
We could talk about the poor widow who gave two pence in the temple offering and was praised. The Centurion who had a servant desperately ill. A woman who’s child had died, a disciple who’s mother was ill. The criminal crucified alongside Jesus, “Remember me!” Children who wanted to get close to Jesus but the disciples hushed them, “Not now!” Jesus responded, “Let the little children come to me.” That’s what God is like.
Everyone needs to be noticed. Particularly when times are hard and they don’t feel significant. Even those of means and influence who doubt and don’t find wealth or success particularly fulfilling. Men such as Nicodemus, another Centurion, a tax collector, and who know how many others never mentioned, but acknowledged along the way. That’s what God is like.
Which means that he undoubtedly sees, hears, responds to you and me as well. And when we know we are seen – what a difference! How about that?!
Matthew West The Last Song lyrics, I’ve sung songs about my roots And songs about my dreams Songs about the people Who mean the most to me Like songs about my kids And songs about my wife It’s how I tell the story The story of my life I’ve sung songs about my Jesus And songs about my sin Songs about the falling down And getting back up again Songs about forgiveness And songs about Your grace It’s how I tell the story Of a life forever changed As long as I am breathing I will lift a melody It’s just my way of saying Thank You, Lord, for loving me I could sing a thousand songs about How good to me You’ve been So, I’ll just keep on singing Until the last song ends I’ve sung in cars and offices When the radio comes on And on a thousand stages While the crowd sings along But when the lights go out And when the show is done My heart keeps on singing to An audience of one As long as I am breathing I will lift a melody It’s just my way of saying Thank You, Lord, for loving me I could sing a thousand songs about How good to me You’ve been So, I’ll just keep on singing Until the last song ends Some songs they might remember Most they will forget But thanks to You my greatest song Hasn’t been heard yet 'Cause if this is my last It won’t be the last one that I sing There’s one more song that will live on For all eternity I’ll join with all the angels Singing heaven’s melody And I’ll tell you face to face Thank You, Lord, for loving me I’ll praise your name forever Can’t wait for that day when The last song that I sing Will be a song that never ends Oh, the last song that I sing Will be a song that never ends