Jeanne here! In my prayer time this morning Jesus was telling me (and all of us), “Rise up, rise up and rule! Take the seat that has been purchased and prepared for you.” The things he was saying were quite remarkable, and I will talk about them in another post.
But as I was writing down his words, he gave me a picture, a memory of something that illustrates who he is and what he needs us to do. It’s not what you think!
A little context might help you understand. I am the second-youngest of 12 siblings, spread in age over more than 20 years. Throughout my childhood I had siblings who were adults and teenagers. On Sundays in the summer, a handful of my siblings’ friends would join us and we would play volleyball on the front lawn. We had a volleyball net that would be set up for the games, and we used a garden hose to mark the boundaries of the “court.”
I don’t know how anyone else decided which team to play on, but I’d always want to be on my oldest brother’s team, because we would be sure to win. He wasn’t a flashy player or a ball hog; he certainly didn’t win every point. But somehow he always managed to be in the right place at the right time. If the ball was on our side and about to drop to the ground, my brother would sacrifice his body for the ball (as the saying goes) and dive across the court to put his fist between the ball and the earth, giving us another chance to get it over the net.
I have vivid memories of myself as a little kid, small and uncoordinated, but wanting to play and wanting to win. There were bigger people all around me, but my brother seemed always to be nearby. If the ball came to me, he’d let me hit it, and then he would swoop in and take whatever feeble effort I managed and turn it into a real hit. He clearly wanted to win, but he never scolded or excluded those of us who weren’t athletic.
What Jesus showed me this morning is that he is just like my volleyball-playing brother. He is always nearby. He doesn’t take over and do it all for us, but he takes whatever we are able to do and turns it into victory. Our most important play is to choose to be on his side in every game we play.
At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is [really] the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, and said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4, Amplified)
This is so counter to our culture, where we each want to be independent and in charge. But we can’t win the game, or the battle against the enemy, in our own strength. Jesus wants us to be trusting, lowly, loving, and forgiving, and he will make us great in his kingdom!