Missing the Forest for the Trees.


John 5: 39-44 (MsgB)

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about Me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from Me the life you say you want. I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of My Father, and you either dismiss Me or avoid Me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?”

So what’s on your “working agenda” for today?

Let’s see. Apparently, from Jesus’ perspective, the perfect working agenda for those who declare to follow Him would have ‘love, love, love’ written on it from top to bottom.

A working agenda full of love. And not just the earthly type of love, mind you. You know the kind I mean? The ‘I love people when they love me back’ kind of love. Love that emanates from human emotion. Kind love. Reciprocal love. Now don’t get me wrong. Earthly love is a truly cool thing, and unfortunately, not all that common in our ‘dog-eat-dog’ world anymore.

But as I see it, Jesus is insisting here on a working agenda full of God’s love. Agape. Unconditional, holding-on-forever-despite-the-odds kind of love. Love that never quits. Love that never checks out. Love that doesn’t take a vacation. Love that keeps loving even when the feelings aren’t mutual. Love that bends but never breaks. Love that hangs around even after everybody else leaves town. Love that holds on even when all strength is gone. Love that believes, hopes, and prays. Love that cannot come from the human heart or mind, but only from the deep wells of agape found in the heart of God.

So apparently Jesus has big problems with people; especially people who say they love God; who fill their working agendas with stuff other than agape love.

So what about you and me?

What’s on our working agendas for today?

If it’s something other than agape, we’ll most likely be spending a lot of time in the forest today, wandering aimlessly amongst the trees. Like passing ships in the night, those who wander around life with love-less agendas on their work lists, will find themselves bumping blindly into a lot of cedars and oaks, never realizing that agape went right when we went left.

Watch your step. I think that’s a redwood tree right up the path.

My prayer: Jesus, these words of Yours sting me. When I think of spending time in my Bible, looking for You, only to know that I’m ignoring You as You stand in front of me, is a scary thought. The idea of having a working agenda for the day that puts a bit of love at the bottom is frightening. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me so that receiving and giving out agape love becomes my only goal. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: When was the last time agape was at the top of my ‘to-do’ list for the day? How might I re-work my working agenda, removing unnecessary love-less details and replacing them with activities that resonate with both a sprinkling of human empathy and a healthy outpouring of God-love?

So what is God speaking to you today as we follow Jesus the Nazarene, the Leader of the Church?

Between now and the end of 2015, we will be sharing with you a blog series we first developed in 2013. We call it Follow The Leader: Re-defining Successful Leadership from the Gospel of John. In order to keep all 46 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Follow The Leader home page for ease of use. ENJOY!

Click here to go onto the next blog in the series.

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