Jesus was even smarter than you thought
Good advice is often under-rated until a crisis hits. Then things like, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” make a lot more sense. Even if you didn’t apply that advice. So here’s the question: Is Jesus a dispenser of advice?
Often times he is; though I would argue that coming to him for advice is going about it the wrong way, since advice suggests we can take it or leave it, and Jesus typically gives instructions not advice. But many of his sayings are pithy proverbs, memorable and quotable. Things like “turn the other cheek,” “go the extra mile,” “judge not lest you be judged,” “don’t cast your pearls before swine,” and so on. In times of crises, these pithy sayings are often thrown about as being the way to survive the difficult times.
The current political/national climate in our country is very unsettled. Some might even call it a crisis-point. So I find it fascinating (and a little bit convicting) that Jesus’ most well-known “advice” seems to take on new wisdom and significance. What am I talking about?
Jesus’ model prayer. Think about it.
- Our Father – pointing to the bonds we share with all humanity despite our immigration status.
- Who is in the heavens – really indicating that he resides in the space all around us, not far, far away. He has not abandoned us to our own devices, regardless of how dark things may appear.
- Hallowed be your name – That God’s character and reputation be honored and proclaimed, not just with our lips (can you say social media), but with our lives. Was there ever a greater call for this?
- Your kingdom come – not the kingdoms of this world, the kingdoms of violence, of political power, of withdrawal, or of legalism, but Jesus’ kingdom.
- Your will be done – this is exactly HOW that kingdom will arrive, when his will is done by his people, when his redemptive, restorative work is being lived out in lives, families, and faith communities.
- On earth as it is in heaven – Jesus consistently said that the kingdom of God was HERE, meaning in his life, and actions. So as we follow him, heaven breaks into this world in increasing measure.
- Give us this day our daily bread – in humility realizing that we simply cannot control even the most basic aspects of human life, like the crops, the weather, etc.
- And forgive us our sins – a daily reminder that all of us need God’s gracious forgiveness.
- As we forgive those who sin against us – and that if we have in fact experienced forgiveness it will be evident in our willingness to extend it to those around us, especially those who are “least deserving.”
- Lead us not into temptation – Lord, may there be nothing in me that will force you to put me to the test in order to reveal what is in my heart.
- But deliver us from the evil one – recognizing that there is an enemy of God who seeks to bring deception, division, and destruction to all of God’s good creation.
As I reflect on the discourse and decisions that are being played out across our land, I can’t think of more appropriate “advice” for such a time as this. Jesus, it turns out, was even smarter than we may have imagined. What a brilliant prayer for us to pray!
So I urge you to take this advice, and spend two minute right now, and each day, praying this powerful prayer. For yourself. For your family. For your church family. And for your fellow citizens.