One of my most favorite places that I love to visit, while I am running one of my spiritual retreats here in Israel, is the town of Nazareth. Today this city has around 78,000 people living in it. In the time of Yeshua depending on who you listen to it had no more than 50 people residing in this place.
One of the sites we visit when we are there is Mt Precipice which is the place where it is traditionally believed that Yeshua was taken to be thrown over after announcing his true identity to the residents of this small town. From this viewpoint, you are able to grasp how much this city has expanded and grown since the days of Yeshua. The neat thing is that if you look carefully you can actually see the place where Yeshua grew up and how small and insignificant it was compared to what you are able to appreciate now.
During one of the many times, I withheld this privileged viewpoint my heart began to be stirred with some things I had never considered before. Not only about Nazareth, but also how this reflected on the life and reality that Yeshua lived in for most of his life and how this then can reflect upon our lives.
The truth is that for the majority of us at the best of times we all still struggle with being noticed and known. Despite the Bible clearly telling each of us that we are known by God the way we choose to live shows that few of us actually understand what this means. Our assumption normally is that if no one out there notices us, apart from those we do life with on a daily basis, then how could the God of the Universe be so aware of us when the rest of the world isn’t. Today, of course, this is many times worse as for many of us even those few that we did life with are no longer a daily feature in our days.
Now clearly the above assumption on the surface is completely understandable and makes total sense. That is of course until you look at the way and where Yeshua lived his life. Consider with me the fact that there is a very good reason why God chose what was possibly one of the most obscure and unassuming places to live his life as a human. Consider how in spite of this he was perfectly happy to be known only by those around him that saw him every day. At no stage do we see him seeking attention outside his daily routine nor do we see him doing anything other than his normal job. He mingles amongst people that have nothing to offer him other than their presence and company. In fact, such was the obscurity of this part of his life that the Bible says very little about it apart from making a couple of references.
Furthermore, at no time does Jesus try and move away or change what he does every day. One, of course, does not know if this is because he didn’t have the opportunity to do so. Or he quite simply didn’t feel the need to improve or expand his professional life. I suspect is the latter and not the former as unlike the majority of us Yeshua understood that what was true about him had nothing to do with what he did every day nor where his home address was. He understood that there was something deeper within him. That even though it didn’t reflect or officially showed up in what he did for a living it was still nevertheless true about him. He also realized unlike many of us don’t that his life was in God’s hands and if any big changes were meant to be a part of his life then the opportunity would come for that to happen.
At no time do we see him be anxious about whether he will get to do his thing as the Messiah. Silently and still he awaits his time never once doubting that his life was any less valuable as a carpenter as it would be when he would be raising Lazarus from the dead. I don’t know about you but I am deeply encouraged and awakened when I consider all of these truths about Yeshua’s life. Especially these days where so much has changed so quickly.
One thing that I am certain of is that what is truly valuable about our lives has absolutely nothing to do with what we wake up to every day. Not the size of our house or our car. Not the brand of clothes we wear or the make up we can afford. Not the places we have visited or not. Not the position we have in the world nor the size of our salary. Not where we were born or what surname we carry. Nor how many likes, followers, and shares our posts and photos get. Is no wonder why Yeshua on Matthew 6 used what we wear and eat to bring our attention to what would most likely get on the way from us seeking and discovering what was truly valuable about this life of ours – The Kingdom aka as Gods presence and His righteousness aka our right standing in Christ within this Kingdom and its King.
Living at peace within obscurity will never be easy for any of us as it goes completely against our egotistically driven society. What can happen is that over time we become more comfortable with letting go of the life we wished we had so we can begin to enter and live the one we are living. This is more likely to happen if we are able to relax our grip over our lives and the way we are persistently told that they are supposed to look before we can be happy and at peace. Doing this will create a daily experience where there will be enough room in our life for God to be who he is instead of just a useful and small puppet that can conveniently help our ego in its quest to be noticed and great.
We need to understand that our desperation to gain the world’s spotlight will only prevent us from discovering the real light that we have been given within us. It is only when God promotes us onto the spotlight that others are then attracted to the light within us instead of just our gifts and abilities. To God, we are just as productive and valuable when we sleep as when we are up and about our lives. This is why I believe that this is perhaps one of the main if not the main reason why God was not ashamed to live in obscurity for the majority of his human life – and neither must we.
As the world economies begin an attempt to return back to what we considered normal a few months ago, I want to encourage you to take some time to consider what you have just read. If you have struggled incessantly during this time ask God to show you why. Ask him to make it clear what is it that caused you to be so unsettled and what this could look like if he was given a chance to transform it. On the other hand, if you have remained still and at peace during this time thank him while at the same time ask him to help you remain in this space as the daily routine begins once again.
Finally, consider with me the possibility that this virus was not allowed to happen in order to kill, steal, and destroy us. Though this may have been in the mind of some in Gods’ heart I am sure, as always, what was meant to destroy he has been using it to cure us and the world we live in. Yes, our financial pockets might not be in great shape but what is truly important has had a chance to get in shape. Whether it has or it hasn’t will very much have depended on what we chose, as Jesus said in Matthew 6, to focus on – Either multiplying the apparent value in our life or simply discovering the real value that is already and has always been part of who we truly are.