The faithfulness of God should never take us by surprise. His power and grace and mercy at work in our lives should not be unexpected and our response should always be grateful trust and humble obedience. Somehow, what we know should be isn’t always what is! Instead, it’s all too easy to be distracted; caught up in the busy activities of life, forgetting that God holds everything together, gives us the next breath and is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Paul, in his concern for the believers at Colosse, addresses this ageless problem of getting distracted when he writes, “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.” (Colossians 3:1-2 The Message)
The penetrating question is, am I serious about living a life marked by the resurrection of Christ? Existing is not an option. Maintaining is unacceptable. The very core of living in the resurrection means we cannot stay the same but must move forward.
Chasing that which Christ modeled as important is now the priority. That means our attention is drawn to single parents and their children – the 21st century equivalent of widows and orphans. It means we learn how to love the people who look different than we do; who get food stamps and are on government programs for housing and medical care. Being like Jesus means we take up the causes of those who have experienced injustice; those who have lost hope that there is anything good in this world.
Even while we are working with “the least of these” we can’t afford to get dragged down in the muck with them and we certainly can’t allow ourselves to have a pity party about our own circumstances no matter how desperate they might be. As the writer of Hebrews teaches us, we have to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.”
We need to keep our attention focused on the action and Paul reminds us that the action – the really important stuff of life – is going on around Christ. And we, the church, are the body of Christ! This requires the best of our time, talents, and treasures! If we are serious about pursing a Christ-like life, about being where the action is and living life to the full, then we shouldn’t be surprised when it requires everything.
It’s so easy to forget that God through Christ is the object of living. So easy to be distracted by our hectic lives, packed schedules, email, facebook and twitter that we fail to live the resurrection life. It’s also possible to schedule so many programs and events at church that we begin to isolate ourselves from the very people Christ commissioned us to reach.
Somehow, what we know should be isn’t always what is!
The adventure of the life of a Christ-follower, this faith journey, requires our constant attention, vigilance, and discipline, and although this isn’t easy, it’s our continuing responsibility to “look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ.”