How do we live in the world, yet not get caught up in, consumed by, tangled up in, or destroyed by the world?

My soul has been troubled by the goings on in our world.  All of the violence, lies, cover-ups, fear, disrespecting of each other causes me to wonder just how long we can continue to endure all of these life-sapping, energy-draining events.  As Christians, as beloved and chosen people of God, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to live in the world and yet, not to live as the world lives (John 17: 14 - 15).  We are to be light and life, hope and love, peace in the midst of the turmoil, chaos, and negativity around us.  So, how do we do that?

What did Jesus do?  How did he manage to live in his chaotic world, yet not get caught up in it?  How did he live in such a way so that, even by his death, the world was positively impacted for thousands of years to come?

1.  Jesus kept Sabbath.  Not all the official rules and regs of what was to take place on the 7th day, but rather, he took time away to commune with God and his friends, to rest and refresh, even when it seemed imperative that he work.  Even when the crowds around him were clamoring for healing, teaching, food, Jesus took time off.

2.  Jesus shared what little he had.  He taught about accumulating treasures in heaven (love, joy, kindness, gratitude) rather than possessions on earth.

3.  Jesus was humble.  He gave up all the glory in heaven to live as a human on earth.  While his authority and leadership were evident, they were not gained by coercion or power.  "Follow me," was an invitation, not a command.

4.  Jesus took loving seriously.  "Love God and love others" was a command from God, not a suggestion.  Jesus loved, healed, talked with, ate with, gave dignity to, included, the most outcast and unloved that society had to offer.

Jesus DID NOT do all this to "get into heaven" after he died.  Heaven was already his.  Instead he did it to demonstrate how we can live in the world so that others might also live, how we can make a positive difference in the present as well as the future.  He showed us how to have hope, to be a light, to bring peace and healing.

Time after time, God's people asked, "Why is everything falling about, God?  Don't you care?  What do you want from us?"  And God answered, "Act with justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with your God.  Love God.  Love others."  And then God sent Jesus to show us the way.