worthy of its time | creed of jesus
Dr. Richard Lucas was a preaching teacher at a local seminary in Nashville. He knew all the famous preachers. During his long career, Dr. Lucas had preached a sermon on every text in the Bible. Of all the people I have known in my life, he is perhaps the only one who loves preaching as much as I do. Dr. Lucas liked to talk about preaching. He liked to talk about the text being worked on and how, if you paid attention, the biblical text would tell you how it wanted to be preached. He wanted to know where to find a good illustration, and if I had heard anyone else preach on this text. Dr. Lucas wanted to know how my opening illustration was chosen, and if I knew how many times this Greek verb tense appears in the New Testament.
And he wanted to talk to me every Sunday right after I preached. At the end of each sermon, he would stand by and wait for me to finish greeting new members and guests and, with his Bible open as that morning passed by, he would start asking me questions about how I had arrived at this sermon from this text. Our discussions lasted ten to fifteen minutes during the break between the first and second service. The discussion was always lively and sometimes intense. Not in a bad way, but in the way conversations flow when two people are passionate about a topic and the voices get a little louder than expected and the gestures a little bigger than expected.
And did I mention he does this EVERY SUNDAY?
Once, as I was walking away from one of my weekly sessions with Dr. Lucas, a friend asked me if I mind. Yes, I said, it was. Then I realized what was happening. I kept explaining to my friend that Dr. Lucas was a teacher. He had dedicated his life to the ministry of preaching. He may have been retired from his post at the seminary, but he was still a teacher. Nothing was more important to a teacher than finding a student worthy of his teaching. Dr. Lucas needed to find someone to pass on everything he had learned. Someone who would value what he had learned the same way he did and for some reason Dr. Lucas chose me.
In his mind, Dr. Lucas had found in me a student worthy of his time. He had decided my ministry, my preaching, and my life was precious enough to receive his two most important gifts – his attention and his time.
Dr. Lucas found me worthy of his time. It is one of the greatest honors I have ever received during my ministry.
One of the most overlooked, yet profound, aspects of the gospel is the reality that God has found us worthy of his time. For some reason, God likes to hang out with the human beings he created. The Bible tells us that God spoke to Moses as a friend speaks to a friend. Abraham tells us that God has come to dinner. The gospels are filled with stories of Jesus going to weddings, eating at people’s homes, and walking miles with his disciples. Throughout the Bible we see the promise that if we call on God, He will respond; that if we listen, He will teach us; may he always watch so that even the sparrows do not fall without his knowledge. Aren’t we worth more than sparrows?
One of the most common titles for Jesus is “rabbi” or “teacher”. Jesus taught his disciples. He opened the scriptures and explained the passages to those who were listening. Like any teacher, nothing excited Jesus more than an avid student. A teacher will spend the whole day with an enthusiastic student and Jesus will spend as much time with us as we give him. Great teachers are like that.
Christianity teaches that our Rabbi is alive and our Rabbi has promised that if we sit down and open His Word He will teach us just as He taught Peter, James, John, Thomas and all the others. For some reason, Jesus believes we deserve his time. He considers us worthy students to know what he knows. Our lives are worth the investment of his time.
In Christ, God tells us that we deserve his time and attention. There is no greater honor than His full attention.