What is one word you would use to describe Jesus? Seriously, think about it before reading on. Would it be: Lord, happy, friend, Savior, busy, kind, loving, wise, intense, judgmental, compassionate, determined, holy?
Dallas Willard once asked a man he mentored the same question. When Dallas was asked what his one word would be, he replied, “Relaxed.”
What a great word! Some would disagree, and this certainly isn’t a theologically certain opinion. It is an observation of the way Jesus behaved.
Think about his pace compared to our own. I can’t imagine him ever saying, “Move it, move it,” or honking in traffic unless it was to protect someone. Can you envisage Jesus having a promotional manager? It probably drove a few of the disciples a little nuts—like Martha or Peter—and probably Judas. The disciples were ready to get on with ruling beside him. “Get on with it—bring on the Kingdom, Jesus.” Jesus just walked. Faithfully. Every day. For 33 ½ years. He spoke a different language, lived in a different world, and in another time zone–the language, world, and time zone of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus was on a mission and had many things to do, but he trusted his Father would order his life. He had strong emotions, and he often acted boldly, may have walked quickly sometimes, and sometimes acted or spoke with righteous anger. (Consider the overturning of the tables in the temple, the spiritual struggle in the Garden, or his strong words to the Pharisees.) I’m not trying to evaluate every moment of his life. I’m talking here about an overall attitude of restful trust.
Jesus walked. He didn’t run, and there is no biblical record of him riding anything except a donkey as an unborn infant and as a man on his ways to the cross. Jesus did not mind being interrupted. He never checked his watch or looked at his iPhone while talking to someone. As important as he was, he was not filled with a need to prove his self-importance by excess busyness.
Jesus stayed up late or wakened early to be aloneand pray before beginning his day—not to get ahead of the game—but to hearfrom his Father. When things got too crazy—like when the crowds pursued him to make him king, he wandered off to be alone.When some tried to stone him, he walkedthrough the crowds, protected. When passing through the temple he stoppedto heal the blind and lame. He took his time with the widow of Nain and Bartimaeus. He waiteduntil Lazarus was good and dead before going to see Mary and Martha about a resurrection. When looking for tax money, he didn’t panic. He sent someone fishing, and used the situation as an illustration. He pausedwhen the woman with an issue of blood was healed. He went backto the healed man born blind when he found out he had been kicked out of the temple. Jesus was prepared to stopwhat he was doing and follow the centurion when asked to heal his daughter. He was busy but not hurried.
Was it because he knew the world was in the loving hands of his Heavenly Father? Was such peace and tranquility a result of a kind of knowledge of God that I don’t often possess? Was it because he listened hard for the voice of his Father and trusted Him to move on his behalf if needed?
The other day, I got some unhappy news and my heart rate increased, I felt my ears pound and realized rather quickly that I was not in my “right” mind—I was in my “wrong” mind. I wanted to do something about it—anything would be good. But what I needed was a mental stretch—a readjustment of my thoughts. I didn’t need to dismiss the news, but I did need to remind myself that God is still present. He is still good, and He never fails to work ALL things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I needed to pull away to look at Jesus, that ever-faithful Savior and friend and all-powerful, loving brother.
My heart rate slowed as my eyes lifted up.
The knowledge of an always-good and faithful Father helped Jesus relax and sleep during a storm in the middle of an angry sea. Maybe such knowledge will help me relax and rest as well.
I believe. Help my unbelief.