Our American culture encourages us to push and pursue, to grow in productivity and even wealth and fame at all costs. And when we do things that go against that, it looks like we’ve come unhinged.
Jesus always spurned opportunities to grow his fame and power in worldly standards. Early in his ministry in Mark chapter 1 we see Jesus quickly get famous for performing some miracles and healing people, driving out demons etc. People love to see that stuff and he was getting popular!
The disciples head to Peter’s mother-in-law’s house and she’s sick, so Jesus heals her and she gets up and immediately starts to serve the men. Think about that for just a second: Peter brings 3 other guys, plus Jesus to his mother-in-law’s house – unannounced – and she’s sick! Just imagine how that might have gone down in your family!
But after she is healed, she gets up and serves them and Jesus starts teaching and healing and quite a crowd gathers from the town. Eventually everyone goes home and goes to bed but early early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus gets up and goes to a quiet place to pray.
The disciples come looking for Jesus because the people want more of him! But in the end Jesus tells them they are going to go on to other towns and minister to people there.
Here’s the point: Just when Jesus is gaining popularity and a bigger platform, Jesus retreats to spend time with God. This is completely unhinged by our standards! Not only that, he leaves the town where he is popular and moves on to a place where he is unknown.
Furthermore we can see a pattern start to develop…Jesus spent time with Father in his upward relationship with God, then spent time with his disciples developing his inward relationship with his closes associates before moving out into the world to encounter people who did not yet know him.
He moved from Up, to In, to Out.
He first gained strength from his Upward relationship with God, channeled it to his Inward relationship with the disciples and finally Outward to people who he didn’t even know.
I think sometimes we go the opposite way, or ignore one of the dimensions altogether.
Sometimes we try to gain strength by growing our platform and being highly “out”…or sometimes we hunker down with people like us and never move beyond ourselves. Sometimes we only do worship either privately or on Sunday mornings and never develop relationships with other followers of Jesus.
In any scenario where we don’t carefully balance, Up, In and Out, we are short-changing our relationships and not following the way Jesus would have us to live.
It seems unhinged to spend time resting in the Lord in solitude when we could be out producing so many wonderful things. But that’s not the pattern of Jesus. Yes, we may look unhinged, but we can do more and be more when we follow Jesus’ pattern of Up, In and Out in our relationships.