Would you want to know when you were going to die? It has been told that when someone receives word of a terminal disease and impending death, that life becomes crystallized for them. Their remaining time becomes extremely valuable and is no longer wasted on trivial pursuits. What they do invest their time in are those things that really matter and that is relationships. . . . with God and those with friends and family. They focus on getting their life in order. They attend to what is important.
This passage from Luke is a warning from Jesus about how his listeners were living their lives. He is giving us a warning about how we live our lives. It is so easy to slide into complacency and to become so caught up in our daily lives . . . . paying bills, socializing, shopping, raising children, going to work . . . . that our expectations become dulled. He speaks of our hearts being weighed down with the worries of life. Our hearts become hardened with the trivial and unimportant. Our lives become dulled and unfocused. We become ensnared in the web we’ve created for ourselves. We forget that it’s “not about me” and make it “all about me”. What is important becomes consumed and overshadowed by what is urgently tugging at us. What is furthest from our minds are those things that should be closest to our hearts. This is a life that is filled with discomfort and dis-ease because it is a divided life. Our attention and behavior does not mirror those things we value and see as important. For example, a man who says he values his family, but works a 70 hour work week or a person who values faith, but does nothing to nurture it in their lives. These are people who are weighed down as a result of a divided life.
In contrast, a person whose heart and mind is mirrored in their behaviors and choices is a person that is experiencing harmony and freedom. A patient with a terminal disease gets rid of what is tugging at them and focuses on what is important to them. They reorder their lives and ironically experience a kind of freedom that they didn’t have before. If we reorder our lives without a terminal diagnosis, our hearts will have a huge weight lifted. Ultimate freedom is a life that is focused and directed.
Jesus is asking us to stay sharp. . . stay alert. . . stay focused on what is important. . . stay ready to stand before him. . . . stay prepared to meet him. It is there that we find freedom.
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