Thursday, December 15, 2005

Preparing for the Big Event

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December seems to be a month of big events.

There's an over abundance of family, company, and church gatherings to fill the calendar and our stomachs. We've attended and hosted a few such gatherings in recent weeks. Usually, before the event there's the inevitable preparation. The house to clean, the cookies to bake, children to bathe, clothes to iron, decorations to hang and the list goes on and on. The preparation and busyness seems endless even as the guests begin to arrive.

Then there were the Christmas concerts our family participated in. Lots to get ready for there too. Does everyone's black shoes, skirts, and pants, still fit from last spring? How about the white shirts? Why didn't anyone tell me that there was a stain on this one? More baths to do and hair to fix right up to the minute we all get in the van. That's not even counting the practice and rehearsal hours spent the previous months.

And of course there's Christmas Day. It's prepare, prepare, prepare all the time.

In all this hustle and bustle it's easy to forget what really is a big event.

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." Mark 10:32

Now that's big. A death, and a resurrection in one weekend. Not to mention the trip to Jerusalem. Yikes! How do you prepare? Obviously you consider the most important things first, "What am I going to wear?" Not Jesus. Does he have the donkey packed and ready to go? No. He quietly trusts that those details will be taken care of.

Just as Jesus begins to prep the disciples, the usual bickering between brothers breaks out. The argument is predictable - who get's to sit in the front seat. James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, argued with Jesus they should sit on the right and left. The other ten disciples become indignant. Great! Just as He's about to enter Jerusalem he has to hassle with quarreling discples. Does Jesus get mad at them for arguing and ruining HIS day? Does he send them all to a time-out yelling, "That's it! No one's going to Jerusalem with me today." No. Jesus dismisses their request, and reminds them of the priorities.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Gulp. Here was the biggest event in the earthly life of Jesus and His heart remains that of a servant. How could the star of the show not demand to be served. After all isn't this all about HIM?

He then continues to Jericho and meets up with blind beggar named Bartemaeus. When the beggar heard that Jesus was in town he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many tried to quiet him down. After all this was Jesus on his way to Jerusalem for the BIG EVENT. How could he possibly have time for a blind beggar on the side of the road. But Jesus still refused to think of himself. He stops and calls the man to Him and heals him. The man immediately recieves his sight and FOLLOWS JESUS down the road. A miracle occurred that day and a man became a follower of Christ.

How often do I miss such opportunities? Rushing to and fro to get my "priorities" accomplished. Thinking only of ME and MY big event. Missing the "blind beggar" along the road.

Could it be that what I consider "big events" are really just the backdrop? Maybe they are actually the small events. Maybe the really big events are those that I might meet on the way? And quite possibly bring along to the really BIG EVENT --Eternity.

He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

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