Less Is Often More
Less is often more, right? Well, not if I consider that this winter term we are glad to have four more students, or how we as a family look forward to adding one more child come February… which will mean a lot more of just about everything.
However, there are times where less is more. This thought came to mind during Christmas break as I finished reading through the Christmas story and went on to read the only recorded information we have of Jesus as a boy. Talk about a period of time that we would have loved to have more, but instead God gave us less! Although in giving us less, He may have actually given us more. You see, we want the “more” of how to raise children, how to survive as a teenager and how to make those life changing decisions when one is in their twenties. I’m sure God could have given us some insightful stories, but I’m actually thankful that He gave us one solitary story, much less than any bestseller would have done… Oh wait, the Bible is a bestseller, and maybe because with much less God has communicated much more by informing us of what is most important in life.
The “less” is the solitary story of 12-year-old Jesus staying in Jerusalem to sit amongst the teachers in the temple, while His parents return home under the assumption that He is with them. The “more” of the story falls between two parenthetical statements about Jesus growing in wisdom and in favor with God and man. How? He told Mary and Joseph, upon their finding Him three days later, that they should have known He would be in His Father’s house. As a young boy, Jesus was aware of the unique relationship He had with the Father, and made it the priority of His life. It was a priority that shaped what He did as a 12-year-old and who He became twenty-one years later. He grew in wisdom because He lived according to the promises of His Father. He grew in favor with God and man because He lived according to the “finished work” of His Father, letting it be realized through His humanity. It’s no wonder He went to the temple to meditate on the Word of God. What more do we need to know? If Jesus made this relationship with the Father the priority in His life, how much more do we need to make our unique relationship with Him the priority of our lives, based on His finished work?
This past Christmas our daughter received Play-Doh with a set of tools for cutting and shaping. One of the tools was a rectangular contraption, hollow on one end with interchangeable shapes on the other. By putting the dough into the hollow end, one could then push it through – and out came the particular shape. Whether we realize it or not, we are like Play-Doh, being shaped by the priorities we set up in our lives and then pushed through. At the beginning of this new term and new year, I challenged our students to think of at least one change they could make in their lives that would give priority to letting God shape them.
As you take one last swig of coffee and finish off your fika time, think about the priorities in your life and try writing down one or two ways this week, month, or year you can prioritize letting God shape you because of what He has done and finished in Christ.