Have I Left Jesus Behind?

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

I have heard sermons speaking on Luke 2:41-52 many times over the years. The story of Mary and Joseph leaving Jesus in Jerusalem on accident and Him spending four days in the temple among the teachers pulls up stories of parenting and loosing track of children in stores (something all too easy to have happen in the hustle common to this time of year). However, this year I heard a sermon on this passage which made me mentally stop, made me spend more time reflecting than any story of a lost child in a store. The deacon spoke on a more philosophical direction, leading us to consider Jesus not only in the lives of His parents, but in our lives as well, today. Have we, as Mary and Joseph on their journey home from Jerusalem, left Jesus behind?

   Have we, in the progression of our life, lost sight of the purpose we found when we began our walk with Christ? Have we, bit by bit, gone off the path and now find ourselves much further from it than we thought we were? It is important to consistently check ourselves against the intentions God has for us. A far too easy trap to fall in to is for our own desires to lead us, tiny step by tiny step, away from Christ’s path. Such incremental missteps are easy to catch if we are looking for them. If not, however, they will add up to more distance between us and the Savior than we would think at first.

   The important work does not happen in trying to stop those steps from happening, as such an effort is not only difficult, but also involves far more moving parts than can be tackled at once. I have been working to develop habits to help me counteract the inevitable small steps off the path instead. The main point for me is the routine of daily time with scripture. Sometimes I use the daily reading from church, other days I will use a personally fitting passage for the activities of the day. However I choose it, my goal is to read a piece of scripture every day and spend time thinking through it as best I can. How can I apply this? How does this tie in to yesterday’s passage? I try to link each day’s reading in to my overall understanding of scripture as well as in to my personal experiences. Some days I am more successful than others, yet the effort is best when this becomes a habit, a part of my daily routine.

   Distance between ourselves and any other person is something we can all see happen in our lives. What we see happen between ourselves and friends or family can also happen with our relationship between us and Jesus. Little steps made all along the way are what stops the distance from forming within any relationship. I can tell the difference, when I step back and compare, between when I have been keeping up with the above sorts of habits and when it falls by the wayside for a while. It shows in how I feel, how I interact with everything in my life. I am better when I read scripture daily. I am better when I actively invite God in to each and every day of my life.

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