So it’s the new year!
Everybody’s making plans, setting goals, developing versions and thinking about the future. And it is great.
My church community is no exception. We have a vision that we want to achieve as a family in the following year. This Vision consists of two parts. The first part is about building up and restoring relationships within the church members. The second part is about faith in simple things, in the promises of God. It is daily faith in action. When you simply believe what the Word of God says and nothing else.
As the part of this Vision, we had several blocks of preaching in the church specifically focused on relationships and faith. And one of them inspired me to share the following thoughts with you.
Every Christian heard this phrase at least once or twice, maybe on the service meeting, maybe during some Bible discussion but everyone knows it. Do we really understand the full meaning of this passage?
We understand the meaning of this verse is metaphorical. It conveys some image or idea to show us, but let’s start with words. If you open a concordance with Greek meaning of words and check up every word one by one for their meaning, you will see that a bruised reed means completely crashed stem of a plant, broken into pieces and shattered. Smoking flax is a linen clothing made from flax, a blue flowered plant, that has a smoke but without fire.
So these images Jesus used to draw a picture of a broken person who cannot go on with something in their life. Sometimes you can find yourself in this position, and everybody can relate to it because life is hard, and we may feel broken or defeated completely by the circumstances. At times, I remind myself a bruised reed or a smoking flax that is trying to do at least something with the hardest effort it could ever take.
And here, we see the heart of Jesus that he will not break such a person. He will not make it worse. But sometimes we behave like the real gardeners. If a real gardener will see some broken stem, the normal reaction would be to break the stem until the end or cut it out. So it doesn’t take resources from a tree root. And tree or any plant will have resources for growing and giving fruit and flowers on the rest of the plant. That’s why I call us Christians real gardeners. When we see a broken person, we have this infinite desire to break them. In order not to spend resources on that broken person. We don’t want to spend time, to pay attention. So let’s just cut it off and move on. But Jesus came to this earth with a completely different set of mind. Even more, he tries to show us how different are his thoughts and his heart. Let’s look at the statement of his mission, which is stated in Luke 4:18-19
Jesus had a mission to proclaim Liberty and recovery to all broken and oppressed. And this mission was not his own, but it came from the Heavenly Father. And we are not our own too when we received Jesus. We received the same Spirit from the Father because we are His children.
… but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
Romans 8: 15-16
We have received the same spirit on the day we were born again with the same power and ability to fulfill the Word of God. This means we are able to treat people the way Jesus did. And this truth we do not want to hear because in everyday situations we decide not to follow it. If we take an honest look at the real life, it doesn’t pay out much to love people. You treat people well and instead you may get nothing, sometimes not even a normal ‘thank you’. To make things even worse you may get yourself involved in some conflicts because somebody understood you the other way you intended. So why do we have to treat people as Jesus treated them if it’s not working? It’s not giving us anything good except the pain of solving conflicts and misunderstanding.
The Bible is a good book because it gives us the answer to this question in Matthew 11:29:
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Look at the highlighted words here. We can have a benefit of behaving like Jesus and it is written here. We will have peace to our own souls! Jesus would like us to treat people with His love in mind. In the beginning of the first verse, it wrote: Take My yoke upon you and learn from me. The word ‘yoke’ is usually understood as a ministry, some task you perform in the church or somewhere where you help. But answer me for 1 question: if living by the word is not a joke itself? Think of it for a moment. It is a quite hard task already. So maybe we just step out of a comfort zone and say ‘I will be leaving by the word’ and we will find rest for our souls.