Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Power of Jesus’ Name

"How can I pray for you today?" the lovely Carol asked me this morning. That I could be a good listener, I said. I was having lunch with "Jane," a mother with small children who works not far from my office.

I headed downstairs at the appointed hour and found Jane in the lobby. After some talk about the economy and such, we got onto spiritual topics. Jane bemoaned her lack of focus.

What would it look like to be more focused? I wondered.

"Just finding 10 or 15 minutes to open the Bible and do a meditation or something -- doesn't seem... I mean, it's not happening." She wasn't wailing or anything, but clearly carried a burden of needless guilt.

I was glad Carol had prayed for me, because somehow this came to mind
Suppose Jesus were right here right now. What do you suppose he'd want to say to you? "Jane, you should have done a meditation this morning"?
So I gave it a shot. This got a smile, because Jane knew (but needed a reminder) that our Lord Jesus is not that kind of person. Paul tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1), and John tells us God is love, and there is no fear in love (1 John 4).

Jane went on to say that there are times when she didn't actually feel like being with her kids, and she felt bad about that -- also about not doing crafts with them. Fortunately, the lovely Carol had recently attended a mothers' group at our church, where the speaker debunked the myth of the "perfect mother." So this concept was fresh in my mind, and I mentioned to Jane that we have this myth, especially in the church.

I guess it was my day for doing the priestly thing, because Jane told me she wished she had the energy to keep her house looking picture-perfect as well -- the "Martha Stewart" image. I mentioned that given a choice between the teachings of Martha Stewart and the teachings of the Lord Jesus, let's go with the Lord Jesus -- who said this:
Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about many things. But only a few things are important, really only one. Mary has chosen the good part, and it shall not be taken from her.
Luke 10:41-42
Do you know what? I learned something today. How many times have I sung "All hail the power of Jesus' Name"? Today I saw the power of the name of Jesus in action. Not like "In the name of Jesus, be healed!" And not like "What would Jesus do?" (so now you or I have to do the same -- yeah right, feed five thousand, raise someone from the dead.)

But "What is Jesus saying to you here and now?" He doesn't reproach or accuse. Each time I brought his name into the discussion, it seemed to me that a weight came off Jane's shoulders. Because the Lord Jesus is true to his word:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:29-30
All hail the power of Jesus' name!

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