Sometimes Less is More

Author: David Montague | MTR President

David Montague shared this email with the MTR family this week. We hope that you will find encouragement in it.

In reading Luke 2:22-38, I noticed a theme of TIME and WAITING.

“And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him (Jesus) up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord…” (v.22)

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.”  (v.25)

“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; … and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” (v. 36,37)

Simeon and Anna, both just, devout and righteous, lived expectantly their entire lives.
Simeon, although he had been told he would see the coming of the Lord (v.26), apparently had to wait for this visit very late into his life (v. 29).  Anna, we are told, is 84 when she meets Jesus (v.37).
Two thoughts…
1. God continues to value the marginalized.  It is not to the Michael Phelps, Simone Biles and Usain Bolts of the world that Jesus is first revealed… but to the old and physically weak.  And it is these who are old and weak that are privileged to first announce Him to the world.
The old, weak, widowed, vulnerable and marginalized have a unique, special and “seen” place in God’s Kingdom.  While we wait, let us make our schools places that look like the Kingdom by making them places that are filled with teachers that see, value and appreciate, particularly, the people that the world does not.  It is an upside-down Kingdom.
B. The Kingdom seems to come slowly, and expects of us our entire (complete and length of) lives.  Jesus is coming… but a lesson of this story (for me)  is that His coming requires an expectation, faithfulness and display of devotion and justice on my part for my entire life.  To the very end.  The Kingdom of God requires women and men to live with righteousness until it is time to “depart in peace.”
This is a marathon, not a sprint.  God’s Kingdom asks of His citizens simple, daily, consistent devotion to Him for our entire lives… to 84 and beyond.  And you run a marathon very differently than you run the 100 meter dash.
Do not add to the stress of this work an emotional or spiritual  immediacy or urgency that you cannot sustain.  Or said differently, sometimes less is more.  Sometimes the most aggressive and effective Kingdom work is NOT always going full speed ahead all day, errrday..  We have a 50-year horizon+ (eternal horizon, to be exact), not a 5-year horizon.  So we work aligned with our horizon…
“Speed is the enemy of the mistakes-friendly culture.”  – Courtney Humphreys, Teaching Mathematics
See and appreciate, tangibly, the people that the world does not.  And exhale.  Live within the calmness of an eternal perspective; not within the pressure of a today perspective.
And while you do, pray today… “Lord, I know you can do anything.  Would you please share your Holy Spirit and your power with me so that students would learn in my classroom and that I might display your character in my school so that peace and dignity would grow in this place.  I am your servant.  Use me as you wish, dear God.”
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Luke 2:22-38

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses,Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised; you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.