by Pastor Kolawole Ola Joseph
1. ON THE JOURNEY OF YOUR LIFE…
Verse 1: “On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus had to pass through Jericho.” (TPT)
Let’s start from there. I am persuaded that this verse can be an inspired metaphor for the journey of our lives. In a unique sense for each of us, we are all on a journey to ‘Jerusalem’ but on the way there, Providence — God’s purposeful sovereignty — may take us to different stopovers. We need to be discerning of where we are per time on our journey to fulfilling the destiny for which we are made. And before you get too excited about your Jerusalem, think of all that will happen to Jesus in His own earthly ‘Jerusalem’ destiny. But, again, before you get too gloomy about the thought of your ‘Jerusalem’ being as poignant as Jesus,’ remind yourself that nothing could be more rewarding and God-glorifying through your life than to go to your Jerusalem and be the fulfillment of that which has been written concerning you in the ‘volume of books.’
If that paragraph doesn’t make as much sense to you, let me state what I’m describing in a few words as it applies to me in the little fraction of my unfolding story that I know so far…
Verse 1: “On Joseph Kolawole Ola’s way to becoming a wordsmith who uses words to shape lives, he had to pass through studying Microbiology for 4+ years at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.” (JKV)
See that? Ask me anything about Microbiology today and I will most likely scratch my head, yet I needed to go through that phase in that location as an important stopover on my way to where God is taking me to. Two Master’s degrees later (in non-Microbiology-related fields), I am grateful for the stopovers from my yesteryears, even when they feel seemingly unrelated to my destiny in retrospect.
2. THE STORY OF ZACCHAEUS (VERSES 2-10)
There are many insights to draw from this story, especially since we find Jesus clearly articulating his life’s purpose in that passage (verse 10). It is a weird story, no doubt. I dare you to imagine a short wealthy unbeliever running like a child ahead of a crowd to the point where he knew Jesus would pass through. In other words, he observed Jesus and observed the direction in which He was heading, and as a result, went ahead of the crowd to go and wait to catch a glimpse of Jesus and be a part of the action. Well, indeed, he got more than he bargained for!
The lesson here is profound, yet one we easily miss in our daily lives. We talk a lot about ‘missions’ in Christianity (from where we got the word, ‘missionary’) but somehow reduce its meaning to simply evangelizing. Actually, mission is God at work. And thus, to be a part of God’s mission is to find out where God is at work in our world and join in the action! That’s what Zach did; no wonder he got more than he bargained for.
So, if I may ask you, where is God at work in your church? At your workplace? In your street and neighbourhood? In your unit in church? In your family? If you know where God is at work, position yourself there in the capacity that the Holy Spirit directs and enjoy the action. There is no better (and faster) way to be missional than that. Sometimes, it’s what makes the difference between fruitful evangelism and fruitless one. If the Holy Spirit tells you, “I’m already at work in Tayo’s life; go and speak to him about my love for him,” your obedience has a higher probability of resulting in a soul won to Christ than to go and spend hours trying to convert someone in whose life God is yet to be at work. Try as you may, you can’t succeed in winning such over since conviction is fundamentally the job of the Holy Spirit.
All that to say this: you achieve more when you position yourself where God is at work. So let the Holy Spirit guide you into where the Father is at work in your world, and get in on the action!
3. THE PARABLE OF THE POUNDS (VERSES 11 TO 27)
The main thing I thought to point out here is the difference between this parable and the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Yes, they are similar, but their lessons must not be confused. In this parable, each of the ten servants received the same amount but different rewards, while in the parable of the talents, the servants received different amounts but the same reward — the approval and joy of the Lord (Matthew 25:21). While in the Matthew parable, we are taught to be faithful to use our different gifts as God gives us opportunities to serve — emphasis on faithfulness, not on our capacities — this Luke parable highlights the fact that we all have something in common — the Gospel and the Holy Spirit in us — but will bring different levels of gains to God’s kingdom depending on the degree to which we submit ourselves to the process of being transformed into the image of Jesus. The same good news is being preached everywhere, and the same ‘quality’ of the Holy Spirit abides in all believers, but are we going to commit to making the maximum impact possible through the influence of the gospel and the Holy Spirit in our lives in the name of Jesus.
Much more could be said, but I’ll leave chapter 19 there and move on to chapter 20 in a sequel soon.