Only now am I starting to see how confused I’ve been about Jesus. I should do what Jesus would do, but do I know what Jesus would do? I thought I did. Or maybe I only assumed I did. That dang picture of Him surrounded by little children waiting for His touch and the birds flying round singing their sweet songs of joy has remained the most prominent mental image of Him since 1960 during my spotty Sunday School experience in Farmington, Connecticut. I say “spotty” because my memories are limited to one image of my mom walking round the church building by herself, and two images of Jesus. One is what I already described and the other was of a felt fabric picture showing Jesus running down a big hill trying to escape a huge rolling boulder that was sure to squash Him should He run too slow. I think little Joey rearranged the felt pieces to suit his boyish propensity for blood and guts.
So what kind of temperament does Jesus have? That’s really the question, isn’t it? If I knew that…if I knew what was most important to Him…if I knew what He thought about most, then maybe I’d know better what He would do or not do in today’s world of NOISE. Clearly, He wouldn’t be addicted to social media, interrupting miracles to check His twitter account, right? No, I don’t think so. Actually, He wouldn’t need to since He knows everything all the time anyway. He could just check with Himself.
If you read the first two parts of Someone to Think About, you already know we started with the big picture and are working our way more deeply into Who Jesus is. We began with His scope of power and authority in the creation and sustenance of the universe, followed by His ministry journey and the ever-narrowing path He walked as a part of His plan. Now, with the help of Henry Drummond’s sermon The Eccentricity of Religion in the book The Ideal Life: Listening for God’s Voice, Discerning His Leading, we get a little more personal into the nature of Jesus’s eccentricity.
Coincidentally, this morning’s patio reading was about Paul, the man who wrote, “To me to live is Christ.” Before he became “Paul,” he was “Saul,” a man who would have written, “To me to live is myself.” The transition from “Saul” to “Paul,” involved moving his center from his self to Jesus. “Paul” became eccentric.
Henry Drummond explains the differences between godly eccentricity and all other eccentricity (fanaticism) in three ways. I generally paraphrase here with a few quotes from the book, so you should find the book and read the sermon yourself.
- Godly Eccentricity is Not Destructive
- Godly Eccentricity is Perfectly Composed
- Godly Eccentricity is Consistent
Godly eccentricity is not destructive.
Jesus did not dismantle the world order, quarrel about institutions, overthrow the church, or denounce politics or society. His aim was to be as normal as possible. A fanatic endeavors to do the opposite, taking their cause to the letter and not, like Jesus, allowing the Spirit to have His way and His say. Drummond writes:
Christ did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (See Matthew 5: 17.) A fanatic comes not to fulfill but to destroy. If we would follow the eccentricity of our Master, let it not be in asceticism, in denunciation, in punctiliousness, and in scruples about trifles, but in largeness of heart, singleness of eye, true breadth of character, true love to men, and heroism for Christ.
Godly eccentricity is perfectly composed.
Jesus was completely comfortable, undisturbed, and settled in His eccentricity. When I think of eccentricity, I think of someone who’s frazzled, quirky, unpredictable, and nervous. Jesus wasn’t any of those things. Despite what was happening around Him, His inner life was perfectly composed.
Composure is necessary for faith. We would be worse than fanatics if we attempted to go along the lonely path with Christ without this spirit. We would do harm, not good. We would leave work half-done. We would wear out before our time. Do not say, “Life is short.” Christ’s life was short; yet, He finished the work that was given Him to do. He was never in a hurry. And, if God has given us anything to do for Him, He will give time enough to finish it, with a repose like Christ’s.
Godly eccentricity is consistent.
Jesus’s life was consistent; a consistent life has a “thoroughness” about it that points us down the same path as His, asking us to pursue…pursue…pursue. Pursue Him, pursue a focus upward on all that is good, pursue peace…pursue our kingdom life as it emerges from the eccentric center.
From the Christian standpoint, a consistent life is the only sane life. It is not worthwhile being religious without being thorough…
Yes, a consistent eccentricity is the only sane life. “An enthusiastic religion is the perfection of common sense.” To be beside oneself for Christ’s sake is to be beside Christ, which is man’s chief end, for time and eternity.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t “know” what I know. I understand all of this…in my head (it hasn’t yet gotten into my body). Jesus’s eccentric center was not “self” at all. In His mind, heart, and actions, He was always going to the Father. His faith was fully informed, formed, and impervious to distraction, taunting’s, clever arguments, excuses, and manipulation. Nothing could derail Him because there wasn’t anything left in Him of “self” that could be hooked and drawn to travel down a wrong path. He was fully about His Father’s business, confident that He would complete the work. No doubts, no wavering, and no anxiety.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I learned something about Jesus that helps me understand what He would do. And I see that I have a long way to go. I could say that with a self-critical tone and make myself feel bad, but that would only happen if I chose to remain centered on “self.” By shifting my focus away from “self” to Christ, I am, in effect, shifting my center and once I move, I will quickly realize He equips me with all that’s necessary for pursuing thoroughness. I still say I have a long way to go, but I say it with hope and a joyful feeling of anticipation. I’m curious to see what life is like outside of my self-center.
Until the next topic…love you.
 Drummond, Henry (2014-09-12). Ideal Life, The: Listening For God’s Voice, Discerning His Leading (Kindle Locations 760-767). Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.
 Drummond, Henry (2014-09-12). Ideal Life, The: Listening For God’s Voice, Discerning His Leading (Kindle Locations 778-781). Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.
 Drummond, Henry (2014-09-12). Ideal Life, The: Listening For God’s Voice, Discerning His Leading (Kindle Locations 783-792). Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.