My author’s heart loves to share the beauty of insight gleaned along this bumpy drama of life. In doing so, I attempt to keep it light and upbeat and not be preachy. However, the fact that I served as first lady of the proverbial glass house sometimes inserts itself into my perceptions. In my novel, Homefires, much of the pastor’s wife Janeece’s story is autobiographical.
So please cut me some slack along the way? Thank you.
Last Sunday, Pastor Jerry shared the story of a father who learned that he suffered from a terminal illness. He was only forty-six, for goodness sake. What to do about legacy and all those things this father’s heart yearned to do?
After much prayer and meditation, he sat down with his daughters, aged thirteen and sixteen. “Here’s what I expect from you,” he said. “ Do not marry an idiot.”
I doubt that either of those daughters will ever forget that counsel.
Simple conversation can change things.
I try to pattern myself after Jesus. In that same Sunday message, a Jesus fact emerged that I had not previously garnered. Oh, I’d read Matthew 5 over and over in my lifetime. Could quote most of it. Prided myself on understanding it all. And to some degree I did.
But picture this: The son of God, Savior of mankind, surrounded by thousands of hungry “happiness” seekers, approached this world-changing appointment with no posturing, no “above the people.” There was no drum roll. No, quite simply “He sat down” amongst the people to impart hope and truth. No folding chairs for comfort, mind you.
Finite minds do not always grasp the significance of this scene.
It hit me between the eyes.
By sitting on the ground, Jesus exemplified the first words of His teaching that day, which, translated into modern vernacular, say “Happy (blessed) are the (poor) in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Christ’s teaching on “poor in spirit” leads us to the realization of our “brokenness,” our helplessness without Him (the truth).
On its heels is “happy (blessed) are those who mourn.” Now none of us find happiness in worldly mourning. But here “mourn” means acknowledging emptiness of the soul. In 2Corinthians 7:9-12, Paul extols Godly sorrow because it produces repentance, which leads to salvation “not to be regretted.” It is a good thing here.
In essence, the sorrow of the world leads to death. But godly sorrow works repentance. Verse 11 says this godly sorrow produces diligence.
Then He said, “blessed are the meek….” Meek translates as gentle and modest, not weak. In fact, Christ loves this attribute so much He promises to those who possess it that “… they shall inherit the earth.”
Give me another wow.
We fear measles, ebola, flu and a host of other diseases we can “catch.” Happiness is not something we can “catch.” Being happy (blessed) comes by seeking and living the principles Jesus imparted as he humbly sat amongst those hungering and thirsting after His unique brand of happiness.
In other words we must go after it and realize that it is at the end of ourselves that we find Him.
So I’m enjoying my new insight into that beautiful drama on the mount near the sea. When I close my eyes, I can see Him, approaching and sitting perhaps on a large smooth rock or on the earth itself, sharing truths that have endured through the ages.
His message is simple yet profound.
His delivery conversational.
His manner humble.
He sat down….
Emily Sue Harvey is the author of several novels, including the national bestseller Unto These Hills. Her latest novel, Twilight Time, was just released. Stay up-to-date on her blog posts at her website.