Jesus, the Man in the Crowd, and Me

the mirror that reveals the inside

In the twelfth chapter of Luke, a man comes to Jesus with a request. This man was in a crowd of thousands of people that were clamoring to get to Jesus, so much so that they were stepping on each other.

The man, like everyone else in the crowd, wants something from the celebrity. Undoubtedly he has witnessed Jesus healing people and doing other miracles; or at the very least he has heard the reports. He keeps pressing through the crowd toward Jesus. Finally he gets close enough to be heard by the man who could forgive sins, open blind eyes, give hearing and voice to the deaf and mute, heal people of terminal illness and even raise individuals from the dead. Now he is within earshot of Jesus so he screams out his request to this most powerful man…

“Jesus, make my brother share his inheritance with me!”

His request was not for healing, for forgiveness, for the healing of a terminally ill child. He could have asked Jesus for anything, and yet he chose to take that moment to tattle on his brother for not sharing, hoping to get a few bucks that were not even due him. Unbelievable. What a wasted moment. What a wasted request. But the man couldn’t see past the trivial issues and material greed of this life.

As I sit here pointing the finger at this man for his ignorance, for his short-sightedness, and for his selfishness, thanking God that I am not like him, suddenly I catch a glimpse of something in my peripheral vision. It is a mirror in which I can clearly see my image. I hadn’t noticed it before even though it was only a couple of feet from my face. Perhaps I was to focussed on judging that man; making myself feel pretty good by comparison. But now that I’ve noticed that the mirror is there, I have to make a choice: do I look directly into the mirror or do I turn and look the other way, pretending I never even noticed it was there? It’s a difficult choice. It would be much simpler and easier to do the latter, nobody would ever fault me for it. On the other hand, I could choose the much more complicated and difficult choice, knowing many people wouldn’t understand.

I have made my choice. I will look into the mirror and study the image I see. I will learn from what I see. It will be painful but honest. There will be many times that it simply becomes too much to bear and I have to look away for a time. But I have to keep going back to the image and watching it instead of watching the behavior of others. Over time I will see that image in the mirror begin to change and improve. With each passing day, the image gets closer to looking like Jesus, but only if I am determined and want it badly enough. Nobody can force me to face the man in the mirror, but God allows me to do just that. When I feel like turning, walking away, and forgetting the whole process, His still, quiet voice is there to encourage me and to strengthen me.

The interesting thing about the image in the mirror is that I only see myself from one angle at a time. After I fix the rough area that is visible from that angle, the image turns ever so slightly, revealing another rough area that I can then begin to work on. Jesus doesn’t make my life easy, He makes it fulfilled.

Thanks Jesus.

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