Assume for a minute it is the year 23 AD. Upon graduation from JSU, Jerusalem State University one year ago Jesus was the number one draft pick into the world soccer league. Now here he is in His rookie year accepting the trophy for His team the Jerusalem Shepherds after having just kicked the winning goal defeating the Roman Charioteers, leading His team to victory in the first ever World Cup. Jesus is named most valuable player.
Of course this would have had to occur during those missing years of Jesus’ life that we know so little about. I guess we can all agree that the scrolls containing this particular bit of his young adult life certainly have not been discovered yet. It is fun to think about.
We do know though that Jesus was fully human. He lived through those teenage and young adult years. I suspect long before that first miracle at Cana He might have caused his mother some challenging moments hanging out with his buddies, we will just never know. It is safe to say that Jesus, like all of us, laughed and enjoyed having fun. But as He matured in age and understanding, He did hear His father’s voice and of course we all know He answered His Father’s call and died freely for the forgiveness of our sins. The key word here is that He matured. He matured in wisdom, understanding, and acceptance of His Father’s will.
We know that when His appointed time came, Jesus man and God, was willing to pay the ultimate price. Yes the day came when He had to hang up those soccer cleats. He spent time as we know studying the ancient Jewish teachings. He was no stranger to time in the temple. Jesus came to a full understanding of His Father’s will because he spent time in prayer with Him.
What about us have we matured passed the teenage and early adult years of our spiritual journey? Are we fully responding to God’s call in our life? What distractions keep us occupied on weekends? Do we spend more time in our weekend recreational activities than we do answering our own call from the Father? When the weekend comes around do we plan the barbecue, the football get together, the boat outing, the shopping trip to the outlet mall, the trip to the beach, dinner with friends, and do all of these with excitement and zeal? Is it only after planning all of the things we want to do that we sit down and try to see if we can possible squeeze in time for church. Oh yes that pesky church obligation it always seems to get in the way of other activities. Have we matured in our relationship with our Lord, really?
We all know that it is in giving of ourselves that we receive. Would you be willing to miss the big college football game this weekend and instead spend time helping at the homeless shelter or the food kitchen. Maybe we could give those cherished football tickets to someone who will normally never get the chance to go, and we can find our enjoyment in their smiles. How about just calling up a friend in need and asking what we can do for them. Maybe we need to call a friend who is caring for their elderly parent or disabled child and offer to give them a chance to get away for a few hours as we fill in for them.
On Sundays do you regularly spend time preparing for mass or church service by reading the scripture passages in advance and praying over their message, or is it more likely that you dash out the door in a rush to arrive 5 minutes late for the service and then leave 5 minutes early to get to your tee time or shopping specials?
I suspect that you have discovered in life like I have, that the more we are focused solely on ourselves the less real enjoyment we truly have. Once we turn our attention to others and their needs we ourselves find real joy. Let’s make a commitment to ask ourselves before each weekend begins how we can give back to God this weekend. How can we show His love this weekend? Let’s schedule time for preparation for Sunday’s service. Then after responding to God’s call and after giving the work He calls us to ample time, we can schedule our other activities. By putting others needs first, we show our spiritual maturity and our time spent with and for God will not be out of obligation but because we realize we get more joy out of answering His call than any other weekend activity. God absolutely wants us to have fun and enjoyment in our lives; in fact, so much so that He calls us to those things He knows in the long run will bring us real joy, peace and fulfillment.
Unless one day someone discovers that AD 23 lost scroll in the desert, we will never know if Jesus really kicked the winning goal, but we do know that for each of us He gave His all by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, and for that He should be named our most valuable player of all time.
Jesus we give you thanks for our weekends. Guide us to activities that bring your good news to others in need. Amen