It’s been a few months since I heard a sermon that was talking about the generosity of Jesus. How he devoted his time to those around him and wasn’t focused on what else he could be doing, he was just present in that moment with that person or people he was with. It has stuck with me, not only as a conviction on my own heart, but in hopes of a conviction for the rest of the world that we may be more intentional and present.
As I grow older, it’s more evident to me how selfish of a world we live in. It’s very different from how scripture calls us to live and love. Can we go back to the 90s when W.W.J.D bracelets were cool and looking like Jesus was our pursuit instead of just trying to fend for ourselves or selfish desires?! Just asking for a friend.
I believe the best way to describe Jesus is: gentle and lowly. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus was telling them he would give them true rest. He wanted them to come to him and be like him. Jesus said,
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.”
Reading ‘lowly’ may have you questioning what he is meaning. Jesus being ‘lowly’ means he is accessible, meaning he is approachable. You don’t have to worry about solving some crazy puzzle or mystery. Jesus doesn’t keep himself a secret. There are no hoops or prerequisites to having access to Jesus. And when we talk about him, we can a hundred percent say that his teachings are gentle and lowly. Gentle and lowly doesn’t mean he’s soft and bubbly. He is gentle because that is heart and who he is. The deeper we pursue him, the more of his tenderness that we see from him. He’s not withholding himself from us — we are withholding from him.
It’s a common thing said in church: we have as much as God as we desire. I firmly believe that and it’s evident in our lives; how we live and love others how much of Christ we allow to reside in our hearts.
Jesus met people where they were. Even by his enemies’ testimony they said he was a friend to those in need and a friend to the sinners (Luke 7:34). Knowing that he is gentle and lowly means we don’t need to make ourselves less of a burden or come to Jesus all put together. We are not obligated to be at a certain point in life or have less sin before he will come sit next to us. We are never a burden to him, he wants access to all of our hearts. Isn’t amazing to know that he will meet you right where you are? That your burden is what qualifies you to come to him? That’s reassuring for me, because I am in desperate need of access to him every single day. I will willfully admit I cannot truly live in rest and live life without him. Trust me, I’ve tried it and I will not go back. He will give you rest and that rest isn’t a transaction, it’s what his heart desires.
The best way to tell you about how compassionate and caring Jesus is, is to bring up that three times in the Bible (John 11:35, Luke 19:41, Hebrews 5:7-9) it says, “He wept.” In these stories we can tell of his love and care because nothing is more important to him than being there in that moment, present and intentionally loving on who he was with right there.
As we continue on in Matthew 11, verse 30 says:
“For my yoke is easy, but my burden is light.”
That is not saying that our lives will be free of hardships or pain, it means that he is willing to take on the burdens you have. Jesus’ deepest anguish was the anguish of others. And what drew his heart out to the point of tears, was the tears of others. So when scripture says, “He wept.” That isn’t just past tense, he is weeping alongside you now and deeply cares. All of those who claim to follow Christ should have a heart that desires to be just like this. To be so compassionate and care and loving as Jesus is.
In this world today, it’s so easy to lose focus and not be as intentional when our phones are vibrating or we’re trying to think of what we need to take care of at home. To be mindlessly listening to someone pour out their deepest desires and the cries of their hearts — let us be more like Jesus and less focused on ourselves and the world. Let us be gentle and lowly. Let us be a place where others feel at rest (although TRUE rest is only found in Christ). Let our shoulders be a place for others’ heads to fall upon and our shirts soaked with their tears. Let us be praying people. Let us be earnest, but also approachable like Christ. Let our conversations be less about finding out information and moving on to the next person, but more intentional and loving. I honestly believe that’s what Jesus meant for us when he said he was gentle and lowly. Let us be more like him and less like ourselves.
“We are called to live a God-centered life instead of a self-centered life.” Chosen, The Daily Grace Co.