In the gospels, “Discipleship” is much more than a development of personal piety and sanctification, though of course it includes these fundamental building blocks. It is about being apprentices to Jesus in the spreading Kingdom of God. “What work of Jesus does He want to show to me and help me to learn to do this day?” is a good question to ask on a regular basis. As we ask that in simple faith, in some sense may we hear His “come-and-see” invitation and be willing to be “stay-and-watch-and-learn-to-do” Kingdom of God apprentices this day. However, remember this too: in a world of endless Kingdom of God opportunities, the Master cares for the wellbeing of His apprentices. The psalms tell us that God delights in the welfare of His servants. In the gospels on one occasion, Jesus took the Apprentices out the country for a rest and a retreat!
We know that there is so much appalling need on the earth, calling us to works of compassion. Jesus knew that with greater clarity than anyone and yet we see clearly in His teaching that it is not wrong to look at the birds of the air or consider the beauty of the flowers of the field. It is not escapism to deliberately rest, or to focus on lovely things. In fact we are told to do so, not only by Jesus, but by the Apostle Paul as well, who certainly lived in the reality of a world where dreadful and unjust things happen and indeed had happened to him himself:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4 verses 8 and 9)
Perhaps the Father’s will for you this day is to consider the lilies. Perhaps His Work through you this day could be to be His apprentice to feed the birds, so they might continue to be His tiny messengers and sing their witness to an anxious and fearful heart somewhere near you, in your street or neighbourhood.