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Posts Tagged ‘Son of Man’

Jo 23Early on in my writing journey, I discovered the unpalatable truth that not everyone is going to love all my literary creations. I remember well how, not long after my first novel was released in 2007, I walked into a small meeting to be welcomed loudly with the following words:

‘Jo-Anne, I’m sorry to tell you, but I couldn’t get past Chapter Two of your book!’

It so happened, however, that this person’s daughter was standing nearby. Her greeting was somewhat different.

‘Oh, I loved it! When’s your next book coming out?’

What could I do but laugh? I look back now and am so thankful to God for helping me realise I cannot please everyone. It stood me in good stead for those times when my other books have elicited entirely opposite responses from readers—or potential readers.

Recently, I finished my ‘final’ draft of my second non-fiction book. I think it’s worth reading. But by this stage, as with all my books, I tend to lose perspective. Maybe it’s okay. Maybe it’s my best writing yet. Maybe it’s awful. Maybe I’ve said it all before. No doubt I will soon find this out via the opinions of my manuscript readers and editors. But, while the situations do not bear comparison, perhaps it was this recent book experience that caused me to take particular notice of something I read recently in Matthew 11.

Here, John the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus tells them to report back to John in prison about the miracles they have seen and goes on to speak to the crowd about John, the man who was ‘more than a prophet’ (9). Then, using the lovely image of children playing make-believe weddings and funerals and wanting others to join in, he proceeds to challenge the crowd—and us:

To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners”.’ Matt 11:17-19

It’s not a matter of life and death at all if people don’t like what I have to offer. But it definitely is a matter of life and death if they reject Jesus and what he offers. Yet Jesus could not please everyone—and neither could John. Some listened well, accepted their message and acted. Some were in two minds. Some disbelieved and could only scoff and criticise.

I don’t want to be among those who refuse to dance or sing. I don’t want to be among those who do not hear or accept what God says because it doesn’t tick the right boxes, in their opinion. I don’t want to have a closed mind that does not value what Jesus offers. Instead, I want to do just what he suggests I do. I want to join in that dance or sing that sad song wherever and however Jesus leads.

How about you? Is this your heart too?

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Last week, as I was cruising along the M4 freeway west of Sydney, a large advertisement on an overpass caught my attention.  It was for a well-known chain of stores and said very little really – just two words in bold letters:

EXPECT CHANGE’

Yes, the ad did make me curious as to what sort of changes I might be likely to find in the particular chain of stores mentioned.  But more than that, it made me think whether I needed to hear such a message for my own life as well.  You see, I’m what you might call the archetypal ‘glass half empty’ person most of the time.  I can see possibilities in an idea or venture, but I’m also very good at seeing all the disasters that might occur as a result and the difficulties that might be encountered along the way!  That might well be a good characteristic to have at times, but it can also make one fearful about the future and reluctant to make any changes.  And it can lead to hopelessness and some degree of depression at least.

Yet life is all about change, isn’t it?  And the Christian life even more so.  After all, Jesus himself said:

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

So our Christian journey begins with radical change and continues on that way, since we are urged several times in Scripture to keep on growing in God.  Peter, for example, tells us to be like newborn babies and to ‘crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation (1 Pet 2:2).

Yet more than that, we belong to a God with whom nothing is impossible – a God who is all-powerful, all-knowing and ever present, a God who hears and answers prayer, a God whose heart for us is just the same as it was towards his people way back in Jeremiah’s time:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer 29:11)

Our role is to have faith in our amazing God, to expect that things will change and be different as we step out in trust and reliance on him.  Our role is to love God with our whole heart and to believe that his heart is for us, that he knows what is happening to us and is involved in our lives.  Around the same time as seeing the ‘Expect change’ sign on the freeway, I was also very challenged by a simple question Jesus asks in Luke 18:8:

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

I want to be full of faith in God.  While I might ‘count the cost’ carefully and weigh things up, I want also to be someone who is hopeful, expectant, up for any changes God might bring.  And I definitely want to be ready when the Son of Man comes.

How about you?

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