Be Still in the Face of Opinions
We live in a world filled with information. Within seconds, details about a murder in a country you’ve never heard about slips across your cell phone. And as you glance through your timeline, to see what’s happening with friends, the Sunday brunch outfit of the queen’s newest daughter-in-law spills across the screen in all its mellow green. New TV shows pelt your eyes every night, celebrities brawl it out in court, and the government approves or disapproves another piece of legislation. On top of all that, you’ve got to decide what to wear to work, how to talk to your coworker about Jesus, the best way to parent your children, and discern what God expects of you.
It can all be so…
So let’s let you off the hook a little bit.
There is an infinite and eternal God who oversees all creation. His very word brought life into existence and his love sustains it all. From before time began, he saw every moment and every possible moment, and in his wisdom, he spurred into being. He planted every tree and called the birds into being.
He created humankind, and he instructed us to take care of the creation that he set into motion. Beginning in the garden, Adam and Eve were supposed to tend the earth. Without tools. Without Advanced Agricultural degrees. Without electricity. Not only through their work, but the work of their children and their children’s children, eventually the whole world would become a monument to the glory, honor, and love of God.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t take away their responsibility. He warned them that because of sin, their task would be more difficult. The task remained the same, but now it came with a promise: one day, the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. A child would kill the evil that threatened to undo God’s creation.
And that child…
That child was Jesus. And Jesus reminded us—the brothers and sisters of his shared humanity, saying, “Consider the lilies of the field or the birds of the air.” They do not toil, they do not spin and weave, they do not store up silos of grain. And yet, our Father in heaven clothes the lilies of the field. And he feeds the birds of the air. Not a single sparrow falls to the ground without his loving knowledge. Not a single sparrow dies without God’s eternal, loving concern.
And then, Jesus—the child, our brother—walked from the garden to the place of death. He was unclothed, and lifted upon a tree. When he hit the ground again, that sparrow was dead. He was laid within the tomb, but on the third day he rose again.
Death is defeated. God’s life rules again. You and I—we get to continue his work.
The Whole World will Change
“I will go with you to the ends of the earth,” he declared. Life will begin anew in Judea and Samaria and every corner of the globe. “And you will be my witnesses.” But despite all the newness of the Christian’s command, much of it is remarkably similar to the first command to humanity. We aren’t given tools. We aren’t expected to gain graduate degrees. And even though life wins, we’re still fighting death.
Toil and pain make hard work.
But you don’t have to make it harder.
God never demanded that you have an opinion on everything. He never told you that you have to ‘stay in the know.’ He never required that you change the mind of your family and friends. He never said you have to define the Red, White, and Blue. The world is still looking for their savior, so they search to and fro. But you already know that child has come. The world continues to search for someone or something to make the world right… they find it in politics, fashion, and business. But you worship the one who has already seen the end and established it from the beginning. He is the Alpha and the Omega.
You don’t need to worry.
In the midst of strife and opinions, you can center yourself on Jesus. You can work with diligence and faith in the direction God has called you. You can set your gaze to the small things, the things that you can actually influence. You don’t need to have all the answers. You already have the answer. And when someone asks you the reason for the hope that you have, you can tell them.
Manny Boston is Family Pastor at Hope Hull United Methodist Church. In that role, he leads our ministry with children and youth so that they grow into the love and knowledge of Christ.