Our reading today comes from Matthew, chapter 13.
In this chapter we find some of Jesus’ most famous teachings. However, the thing that sticks with me most is in the beginning of the chapter where it says that “Jesus sat down by the lake and soon a crowd gathered around him.”
Most of the time when I picture a lake I think of calm and peaceful. But further study reveals something different. The lake being discussed was actually the Sea of Galilee, the largest lake in Israel. It spans over 64 square miles, houses multiple varieties of fish, and is the largest fresh water source in the country. Because of its benefits, the lake, in biblical times, was surrounded by towns and cities that were filled with commerce and productivity.
So I have to reframe my mind when I see this picture. Instead of sitting quietly beside a serene pool, Jesus chose the hub of commerce and daily life. People were at the market place, people were at work and going about their business. And I don’t think they were any less busy than we are today. If anything, they had to work harder just to maintain the bare necessities like dinner, and clothing.
How is it, in this setting, did Jesus successfully encourage people to stop and listen to stories that made (to some) absolutely no sense? What was it about him that made people stop their important activities and truly experience his presence?
At one time, I worked downtown. The streets were always bustling with folks going about their business. Maybe this is your world today. Or maybe, like me now, you are more remote but still operating in a suburb or even your home.
We should ask ourselves, “Am I really too busy to stop for a few minutes and listen?” Our Savior is standing in our midst, wherever we are. He stands among us offering wisdom, discernment, grace and hope. Are the things I am engaged in so earth-shatteringly important that I can’t spend 15 minutes soaking up the life-force that can sustain me for the rest of the day and those to come?
Maybe those lake people knew something that I don’t. Maybe they understood that His power in our lives produces much more than our own. Maybe they understood that an investment with the Lord of the Universe is better time spent than trying to scratch out a living by ourselves. Maybe they understood that His peace isn’t like that the world gives us, and it is much more valuable than anything we are working for.
Give me ears to hear. Give me an understanding of what You are trying to do in my life today. Give me the peace to lay down my to do list for just a little while, that I might encounter You in a life-giving way.
In the name of the Rock I pray,