I’ve almost written this post three times. Ironically, I chicken out when I find that it just doesn’t sound…sufficient, impressive, eloquent, or relevant. I even deleted my notes. But I think it is an important concept to consider in light of the truth of the Lord, so I’m going to try.
People don’t seem to like to be considered shallow. We don’t really enjoy thinking of ourselves as valuing unimportant things, or wasting our time on trivial tasks. Feelings of emptiness, of doubt, or of meaninglessness creep in enough as it is. We find we don’t need to validate these feelings by doing things that seem mundane or sound.
So, we push and dig to get to the very depths of our souls and burrow into the trenches of relationship with Christ. We push and dig through conversations trying to find purpose in them. In the things that we do, we seek out meaning and justification. And to make these things more secure in our souls, we seek recognition of our purposes and depth. Our lives, as we then live them, are made to be one of two things: meaningless or profound.
But we miss the point. To live meekly in Christ is incredibly difficult because we have to give up dreams and expectations of spiritual grandeur, like being known for how righteous we are. We have to live like Christ lived, with our eyes ever fixed on God and not on the steps we think we must take to “get to Him.”
As Oswald Chambers pointed out in his November 22nd “My Utmost for His Highest” devotion, Jesus came to us as a baby. A baby! He lived as a carpenter’s son. He traveled and ate and drank with companions like other people did. The miracles and signs he performed he often followed with a request of secrecy (“go and tell no one” -Luke 8, Matthew 16, Mark 9, etc.) When he died, it was between two criminals who suffered crucifixion as well. Then, when He rose again, Jesus didn’t run around telling all the haters how wrong they were and striking them dead in vengeance. He went to those He loved and spent His days among them, teaching them truth.
Christ’s life was not rich, it was not attractive, he was hated by many, and he had all the needs we did….that’s how He was fully man and able to tempted as we are tempted.
What was different, then? What made His life profound and eternally significant when he never made a big deal out of Himself? What kept Him from being shallow when He lived so simply?
That Jesus was the Lord. That Jesus humbly obeyed, even in what He ate and drank and who He spent time with. Nothing human about life on earth was below the Lord. And the only “thing” above Him was the Father.
Consider Matthew 6. Notice the number of instances in which Christ reminds us not to do things in the sight of this world for the rewards of this world. Being profound and earning a reputation of depth, when done to appease a sense of meaninglessness in ourselves -as is the case when we seek to find purpose in how others see us- is seeking wrongly.
While usually the verse is quoted about worrying, I think perhaps Christ said it in relation to the rest of what He was saying, especially in Matthew 6, not just worrying….
“For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
It’s a simple point. It isn’t deep or incredibly shocking or profound or anything new and cool. We must fix our eyes on the Lord and seek Him only….and that includes not seeking meaning and purpose and depth to appease that which only He can fill.