The gospels are exciting. Reading about miracles and repentance and wild abandon and field training of the disciples beckons to the adventurous souls to throw in with the God who acts now – do not hesitate! But here I am 35 years after my own conversion which was about 1950 years after the first call of Jesus to follow Him. Just in my own short life I have married, and fathered children, and served and spoken of that same Christ call to many other souls in my own lifetime.
So I wonder about the woman caught in adultery and if she really “went and sinned no more.” Or did she fall back into the same sin pattern. Certainly there were others like her who fell back in the long term. So where was their support network? And what about staying with and raising a family? It seems Jesus called people in the now, with little to say about the long term. But our human spirit is cyclical and surging. Where are the instructions for a man like me wanting to father a future generation in a cultural current far downstream of those original waves off the feet of our Lord?
That’s what I like about the epistles. There has been some settling in and dealing with longer term realities. And in our own lives we find the initial conversion must blend into a sustained longer term reality.
Then looking the other way, back from the years to the now: I have found stimulation toward a once-and-for-all comprehensive and objective perspective on my purpose and my place in reality. This propensity leads to profitable exercise, but to be satisfied, I find myself in the “now,” in the existential reality of belonging to Jesus Christ, for it leans not on my own intellectual power or self will. When I momentarily give up my ambitious cogitations for a silent recess, and relax from explaining the galaxies, grandeur and glory, I find myself safe in His hands experientially, and I understand that life is about knowing I am loved by Him, and therefore, acting like I know it. So in I Thess. 1, Paul is happy to hear of the Thessalonians work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness in hope of Jesus Christ. When I remember who I am, I don’t have to try to be someone new and different – the new improved version of myself. Instead, I enjoy the works of love in front of me, knowing that I am loved for eternity, and not disappointed in temporary defeats.