When I reflect on the life of Jesus, I am amazed at his teachings, feats and most importantly, his commitment to the Father.
At the same time, what equally amazes me is the way he relates to people, whether it is to heal a leper, raise the dead (Lazarus), celebrate in festivities, dine with sinners or admonish hard-hearted religious leaders. And one of the most precious gifts that he gave to them was his time!
Take for example his encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4:4-42).
Jesus was going through Samaria. He was tired and was sitting by the well when a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Thereafter, the two of them had a meaningful conversation resulting in the Samaritan woman’s spiritual enlightenment. Jesus ministered patiently to her even though he had to travel to Galilee.
In his life, with Jerusalem and the Cross beckoning, every minute, every second of Jesus’ time was precious. Yet in his dealings with humanity, each individual counted and his time spent with them was unhurried and focused.
Why is our Lord so generous with his time? Because he cares for us. Each one of us matters to him immensely.
Take for example the parable in Luke 15:3-7 where Jesus said,
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
To God every person is precious. When we were rebellious, unwilling to accept the gospel or have committed some sin, did God give up on us? Did he throw in the towel? Did he cut loss? The answer is emphatically “no”. God stayed with us through thick and thin, and will do so forever!
So… if our God has time for people, should we not have time for them as well?
As we celebrate Chinese New Year, let us not forget those who are in need, in pain or suffering. May we have time for them…