Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Last Place First

There’s a story in Luke 2.41-49 that I’m sure we’re all familiar with.  Jesus is twelve years old and has traveled with his parents to Jerusalem.  They are on their way home when Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus isn’t with them. 
If you’re wondering how this could happen – let me tell you it’s easy when you have numerous kids, bunches of relatives and multiple caravans.  It’s easy to think they are with someone else, only to find they’re not.  Unfortunately, this is the voice of experience.
When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.  Luke 2.45-46 (NIV)
When his parents saw, him they were astonished.  His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this?  Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked.  “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  Luke 2:48-50 (NIV)
I’ve always struggled with this passage of Scripture because it sounds like Jesus is scolding his parents.  At first glance it seems that he might just possibly be a bit disrespectful.  But after reading this again, I saw something in there that I’d never noticed before.
It says that his parents returned to Jerusalem and then it took them three more days before they found him!  I always thought that it took them three days to get back to Jerusalem.  They had searched in Jerusalem for three interminable days before it dawned on them to look in the temple.
Mary and Joseph had seen the angels, the shepherds and the wise men.  They’d experienced the virgin birth of their son but in the twelve years since all of that had happened they had forgotten who their Son really was and they went last to the place they should’ve gone first!  No wonder Jesus said what he did.
I couldn’t help but wonder, as I read this, if I do the same thing?
I have a problem . . . What’s the first thing I do?  I get on the phone and talk to a friend.  I try to fix it on my own and only after I’ve exhausted all my other resources do I finally bring it to the ONE I should have gone to FIRST.  Why is prayer always my last resort instead of my first inclination?  Could it be that I’ve lost sight of who He is and what He has done in my life in the past?  Could it be that I don’t really KNOW who He is?
I’m building a habit of going to God first, spending time with Him daily and seeking His face continuously but unless I continue to reinforce it, I will easily slip back into old behaviors and patterns.
Let me ask you?  Is He the LAST place you turn to when you can’t solve things on your own or the FIRST place you run to in the good and the bad?
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  (Matthew 6:33 MSG)
Lord, give us eyes to see You.  Faith to seek You first.  Courage to do what You are calling us to do.  May You always be the first place we run.  Instill within us a heart that doesn’t turn away from You no matter how difficult the road may be.  Teach us to steadily follow Your path, no matter what the cost.  Amen.

- Kristi Huseby

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