31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matthew 25:31-46 

When I started out on this journey with Jesus to Jerusalem three weeks ago, I had no idea where it would lead. I knew that we would travel some difficult terrain. And I knew that eventually I would end up at the foot of the cross. But the moments in between? The moments leading to the cross? I really didn’t know what to expect.

And, to be honest, this not knowing, it’s become more of a challenge recently. And it’s made me want to cheat.

It’s made me want to read ahead in the 40+ days of scriptures that I get one day at a time so that I can cherry pick the ones that will make this journey easier. Easier to make. Easier to write about.

Because it’s become more about writing about the journey, not about being on the journey.

Because it’s become about building an audience, not about building my relationship.

Because it’s become about me, not about Jesus. About my blog. About my writing. About my insights.

Except that’s not what I set out to do three weeks ago.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my {somewhat inconsistent} walk with Jesus in my life, it’s that the journey with Jesus can take on a direction I never intended if I am not intentional.

If I am not intentional.

Of course even if I am not intentional, the journey can still take a turn for the good, for my good. But most of the time, when I am not intentional, the journey will take a turn for the not-so-good, like now.

When it becomes more about what I can get from Jesus rather than what I can give to him.

When it becomes more about what Jesus is going to do for me rather than what I am going to do for him.

When it becomes more about Jesus as a genie granting my wishes or about Jesus as an accessory rather than about Jesus as the Creator of the universe who wants a personal relationship with me or about Jesus as the reason for my being. About Jesus as the reason for my next breath.

no matter how many times I wander off, my Shepherd find me (photo courtesy of moss holder on stock.xchng
no matter how many times I wander off, my Shepherd always finds me
(photo courtesy of mossholder on stock.xchng

This morning, when I rejoined Jesus and his disciples on the Mount of Olives, I felt deeply convicted. I felt like one of the goats in Jesus’ parable, set apart, but not in a good way. In reality, I am not a goat. I have a relationship with Jesus. I daily acknowledge my need for him even as I daily return to him more times than I can count. Even as I daily forget whose I am.

But even so, I recognize that even as one of the Shepherd’s sheep, I have wandered off with the goats. I have lost sight of my Shepherd, replacing him with my need for the world’s recognition. The world’s applause. The world’s approval. I have allowed the world to push Jesus aside.

And so I pause. I breathe.

I wait.

And then I cry out.

I cry out to him whom my heart loves.

I cry out to I AM.

Because I am a sheep lost along the path. I am a sheep in need of her Shepherd. I am a woman in need of her Savior’s second chance {for the 1,273rd time}. A woman in need of her Savior’s presence on this journey.

This daily journey through life.

This daily journey that is also a journey through lent. A journey to know the Shepherd, my Savior, my Jesus more than I do today. More than I do right now.

And so I sit down near the disciples. Near Jesus. But apart from them. At least a little bit.

But Jesus. Jesus will have none of this separation. He will have none of my shame. He moves over to where I am and without any effort by me, I am back in the fold. I am counted as one of his sheep.

I am counted as one of his disciples.

I am counted as one of his own. As one of his own.

And I wonder at how easy it is to get off track with Jesus. How easily I lose my way and let the world crowd him out, push him out. How easily I worry about the things of this world despite what I know.

Despite who I know.

I do not know where this journey leads tomorrow. But I know with whom I go. I know him whom my heart loves.

And he knows me. He knows me.

{And he loves me any way.}

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