30 August 2011

The Kind of Man Jesus Loved

Hugh Martin, commenting on the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22), in a paragraph underlined and marked up in other ways by my grandfather, who left this book to me and who embodied with his life the very thing he underlined with his pen--
Jesus loved the enthusiast, the man who knew what side he was one and threw himself whole-heartedly into the struggle. He liked energetic action, as in the men who climbed the roof and broke a way through for their paralyzed friend, or in Zacchaeus who forgot his dignity and swarmed up a tree. He loved the generous giver. All four Gospels quote His saying, 'He who loves life loses it; he who spends keeps.' It sums up His attitude to life. He praised the man who banged on the door till he got an answer; He wanted men to show that kind of determination in the affairs of religion. He praised the widow who badgered the unjust judge into doing justice. He did not like playing for safety or burying one's talent. It is the peace-makers rather than the peace-keepers whom He blesses. Goodness is a positive active loyalty.
--Hugh Martin, The Seven Letters: Christ's Message to His Church (London: Carey Kingsgate, 1956), 107

No, by 'the kind of man Jesus loved' I am not denying the wonderful truth that Jesus loves all of his adopted brothers and sisters with a beautiful equality. Indeed, on one level, it was precisely the person who knew their poverty and inherent inability to generate any kind of enthusiasm for whom Jesus' heart broke and for whom he had a special care.

But you cannot tell me that there is not in the heart of God a special pleasure over, and even a special love for, those children of his who live all out for him. Whole-hearted earnestness. Not frothy frivolity, not artificial painted-on smiles. But a glad determination that picks itself up from the ground after every emotional leveling and rejoices its way back into sanity and hope once more.

No comments: