The day was quickly approaching. In just a few weeks Jesus would be betrayed by his closest friends. He would be tried and convicted of a crime even though he was not guilty. He would suffer the excruciating pain of death by crucifixion. What must he have been thinking as he approached this destiny? We know that in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night that he was betrayed, he asked the Father to “take this cup” from him. Do you imagine that he was dreading it all along?
A few weeks ago, we celebrated Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent (a 40 day season of reflection as we approach Easter). We are now about halfway to Easter. For some reason the other morning, I was wondering what Jesus would have been feeling at this point in his ministry. He always knew that he was headed to the cross. He was going to be obedient to the will of the Father, but in his humanity, he could not have been looking forward to it! Was he consumed with alarm and dismay?
Forgive me for using the current vernacular, but I imagine that Jesus must have practiced mindfulness. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. This is a very popular technique right now, but I don’t think it is a stretch to imagine that it is how Jesus would have functioned. He was fully present in the work he was doing. He was focused on the people around him. I don’t imagine he was looking into the eyes of one person while worrying about what lay ahead. It doesn’t seem in line with the character of Jesus to think he would let his mind wander to what was in his own future at the expense of being attentive to the people around him. I don’t think when Jesus was healing the blind man or feeding the 5,000 that he was consumed with his own plight. All the evidence of his behavior and conversations with people indicates that he was aware of the needs of his followers and filled with love and compassion for them.
I think we can all learn from this. How much of your life do you spend on auto-pilot? How much of the time are you doing or saying one thing while anticipating and worrying over things that haven’t even occurred yet? I know I have been guilty of this many times as a wife, mother, and friend. I may have been present in the body but totally absent in the mind. I am confident that this was not the way of Jesus. He loved wholeheartedly and He was fully focused on those in front of Him.
A responsible and eternity-minded person must always balance between taking the future into account while living fully in the present. We know that Jesus always kept his larger mission of salvation in mind, especially as he juggled all the demands of those around him. He knew why he was here on earth- to glorify the Father. But He didn’t just bide his time until the day his “ultimate mission” was to take place. He was present each day to do the work the Father had given him.
We can all learn from Jesus’s example. Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (John 6:33-34).
Where do you need to engage with what’s presently in front of you, instead of allowing distraction or worry to alter your focus? Will you ask God to help you live mindfully for His glory this week?