The Knuckleheads

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Jesus had a way with words. He spoke with authority and the "crowds were amazed" (Matt. 7:28-29). He talked a lot about himself, his mission, and God's kingdom, offering challenging, quotable verities about complex, cosmic realities. Ultimately, however, his message is simple, but often, more often than not because of our pathological busyness, we have a way of missing his point.

That is my story. I tackle too much too often. I multitask, I juggle, I try to manage the chaos, and then I crash for a few hours to dream about the tasks I did not complete, the balls I dropped, and the chaos that managed me. And I take pride in this ridiculous activism, imagining that my frenetic pace somehow proves my importance. I am a knucklehead. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus talks to and about my tribe, the knuckleheads. He addresses the basic human fact that we worry. We worry about today, and we worry about tomorrow. We worry about the things we have, and we worry about the things we need. We worry out loud, asking "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink" or "What shall we wear?" and we "run after all these things" (Matt. 6:31-32). Our anxiety level tends to dictate our activity level.

Jesus proposes an alternative. He reminds us that our heavenly Father knows our needs, and he tells us: "Seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matt. 6:33). With these words, Jesus invites us to narrow our focus, away from "all these things" and towards the kingdom of our gracious Father.

For knuckleheads, this is a radical shift. We balk at a narrow focus. We are suckers for what Soren Kierkegaard called "the worldly ideal," which promises variety, "a multitude of things, a dispersion, the sport of changeableness," but ultimately delivers "emptiness concealed by multiplicity," a "vacuous diversion."

Kierkegaard as usual paints a bleak picture, but his words ring true. Sometimes in sporadic moments of hasty introspection, I long for a narrowed focus. I consider the possibility of doing one thing well, but then I get busy . . . being a knucklehead. Jesus, however, does not give up on me. He calls me to come to Him, to rest (Matt. 11:28), to drink (John 7:37), to abide (John 15:7), to do what I am created and re-created to do, to seek the kingdom.

Jesus invites all of us to narrow our focus, away from the many and toward the One. Jesus invites us to narrow our focus, not because "all these things" don't matter (some do and some probably don't), but because "all things (including knuckleheads) were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16), and our "Father has been pleased to give [us] the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). And the other things too.