I have always had a fascination with history. Though there are many who would agree with me, we would perhaps be in the minority. Personally, I believe that we have achieved this minority status because history can so often be tragically reduced to nothing more than a list of dates, names, and events forever plaguing us with the unwanted burden of rote memorization. Nonetheless, for me and for those like me history so very often quickly comes alive with the stories of those who have lived, laughed, loved, lost, and persevered…stories that intertwine to form the foundational fabric of our lives.
It was this fascination that found me at the feet of my grandfather on an otherwise inconsequential Sunday afternoon. Pop and Grandma had traveled the roughly 2-hour trip from the small town of my parents’ shared upbringing, to the burgeoning metropolis that was suburban Kansas City. While we waited for my father and mother to finish with their regular post-worship duties, Pop began to talk and I began to listen. Each story led to a series of questions, and those questions led to more and more stories.
I am not sure how long I sat there that day, fascinated by the life lessons of a man whose life-story comprised the prologue to my own story; a story that I was only just then beginning to author for myself. After some time, I noticed my parents sitting silently in the small room together with us. Later, my father would remark that he wished that he had thought to record that conversation, so that we would have it to treasure in years to come. How true those words ring within my heart today, four years after my grandfather’s passing.
God chose to walk on earth in human form, incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. For a very short time, Jesus lived, laughed, loved, and lost as each and every one of us does throughout our own short lives. For an even shorter period of time, Jesus was in public ministry, teaching those who would listen about what it means to embrace life as a citizen of a Heavenly Kingdom. Throughout the entirety of His earthly ministry, Jesus warned of a time when He would no longer be with His followers in the same way. In the age to come, Jesus would be with each of us in no less real a way, yet in a way that was and is very different.
If you want to do something that makes a real difference in your life this year, then spend some time studying what Jesus chose to teach about while He walked the earth in human form. Obviously, given the limited time that He had, the topics that He chose to spend His limited time teaching about are likely to be topics that are worthy of consideration today. As you begin to engage the stories and lessons of Christ, you will probably have questions.
Those questions will lead to more stories which will lead to more questions…the end result being a richness of relationship that cannot be understated or mimicked…a relationship that just so happens to be the majority of what Jesus spent His limited time talking about.