Everyone has favorite Bible passages, ones they turn to over and over again in their quest to be more Christ like. One may love the story of the wedding feast at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine; I think about that miracle every time I attend a wedding. Those wedding guests certainly had a “friend in Jesus”. Another person may have the miracle of Lazarus arising from the dead as their favorite, while someone else enjoys hearing how Jesus made the blind see and the lame walk. Lately though, I find myself reflecting more and more on the story of twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple.
This was not always the case. When I was younger, and with the aid of the Children’s Picture Bible which was always displayed when I was growing up, I loved to read about Jesus and the Story on the Mount. He fed all those people with just a few fish and loaves of bread! I loved to imagine myself on the mountain, sharing in that miracle and hearing Him speak. I also enjoyed reading about Jesus’ Forty Days in the desert and His resistance to Satan. To this day I can recall with clarity the picture of Satan and Jesus standing high on the cliff overlooking Jerusalem. Satan is telling Jesus everything will be His if He’d just worship him. I’d read those two events over and over again. They are still two of my favorites.
As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve begun to wish I could be more like the young Christ in the temple. Can you imagine doing something you love to do and not being bothered by time? Jesus was missing from his parent’s sight for three days, which in today’s world would have activated an Amber Alert, and yet when found He seemed to be surprised they were even upset. He wasn’t bothered a bit those three days had gone by. He was doing what He loved doing, teaching others about His Father, and time had no meaning. Wow! In today’s age, not running your life by time would be unthinkable.
For families with young children, schedules are a necessary way of life. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – all need to be planned, scheduled, purchased, and/or prepared. Laundry needs to be done, no questions asked. Beds made… most of the time… and the house in order. My mother taught me to make sure the house was always company ready! This meant the bare minimum of cleaning included shoes put away, dishes in the washer, floors swept, doors shut, and bathrooms cleaned…everyday! The older my children became, I naively thought, the sooner I’d graduate past company-ready cleaning. Boy was I wrong.
Life in my house became an Excel spreadsheet. Columns were filled with appointments, chores, schooling, and all the other bits of daily minutia. Keeping track of everyone’s scheduled activities was exhausting enough, and then there was still the need to maintain the house, the lawn, and other family responsibilities. Even now I’d be lost without a wristwatch and my day planner. After all this time, time management has become second nature. That’s why I have this fascination with Jesus in the temple.
He wasn’t on anyone’s schedule but God’s. He wasn’t looking at a clock, trying to gauge the fastest way to deliver a lecture before starting another one. He wasn’t zipping through the temple’s hallways looking for shortcuts. He wasn’t even trying to make everyone happy at the same time. He, in my mind’s eye, was slowly navigating His way through the temple corridors, teaching about God to whomever would listen, and loving every minute of it. If someone didn’t want to listen, I’m positive He didn’t sweat it. He just kept right on doing what He needed to do. No watch, no clock, no time frame to operate in; He didn’t even worry about things other men deemed important. God the Father wanted Him to preach, so He did.
Many times I’ve thought on this event in Christ’s young life, knowing how wonderful it must be to do what you love without worrying about time. As a young mother I would have loved to read a book to completion without thinking about cleaning or cooking, much less having children interrupt every few minutes. Or, to be able to walk in silence on a wooded path until I tired, rather than because my allotted forty five minutes exercise time was over. Even on vacation, agendas are created and days filled with planned activities so we can make the most out of our free time together.
Imagine being able to talk with God, and about God, with no worries about the chores to be completed in the next hour. Imagine being Christ-like in our conversations with others, teaching one another and learning from one another. As a good friend once commented, too many times we worry tomorrow away. I want to become more like the twelve-year-old Christ in the Temple. I don’t want to be remembered as a punctual, list keeping, company-ready Mom. I want to do what God wants me to do on His schedule and love every minute of it.
Copyright 2009 Carol S. Bannon