By Chris Cunningham
Spiritual Life Local Outreach Coordinator
How are the New Year’s resolutions going? I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions. Not because they’re bad, but because they aren’t trendy anymore and I couldn’t stand to be un-trendy. Recently, somebody told me they would describe my style as “urban fresh.” I don’t know what this means, but it sounded trendy, so I figured if I was trendy I couldn’t have a New Year’s resolution.
Anyways, as the New Year has started I’ve noticed a pattern in my life. Because of the way my brain is wired, I tend to go into these modes of hyper focus. My wife thinks it’s almost like a super power, but I disagree, because when I go into these modes I tend to shut everything else in my world out until the task at hand is finished. In our American, results-based, progress-centered culture, many people would pat me on the back and encourage my drive to get the job done.
But here’s the thing…
When I get into this mode, people become an inconvenience to me. For example, a few months ago I was in one of these hyper-focus modes, writing a song or a paper or something, when all of the sudden I heard a scream from my neighbor’s house followed shortly by sobs and cursing. I sat at my table, staring at the wall, listening to what sounded like a small tragedy going on just feet from me.
Have you ever had one of those moments? You know the ones where it feels like a scene from “Braveheart” is going on inside of you? I think this is something we’re all familiar with; the moment when your schedule, your daily routine or your hyper-focus trance runs right into the needs of another.
I wish I could say I walked over to my neighbor’s house to check on her, I wish I could tell you that she’s doing better or that I never finished my song because I spent the whole night sharing the hope of Jesus with my neighbor who seemed to be drowning.
But I didn’t. I sat at my kitchen table and did nothing. And that task I needed to complete so badly… I don’t even remember what it was now.
In Matthew 13, Jesus tells a set of stories that describes what the Kingdom of God is like. One of the stories goes like this: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Over and over again in the Gospels, Jesus says the Kingdom of God is hidden from those who don’t have ears to hear or eyes to see. I used to think this meant that sinners, Pharisees and members of other religions couldn’t find Jesus because they had everything wrong.
Now I think I understand. The Kingdom of God is hidden from people like me, who are too focused on their own life and daily tasks to see the treasure buried in the dusty field of the mundane, day-to-day rhythm that is human existence.
The treasure that might be wearing the clothes of a neighbor lady whose life is falling to pieces… The gift that might be found in that socially awkward guy who always passes by. The Kingdom of God is the fortune that lays in wait when we take our heads out of our books, papers, assignments, workout plans and bible studies, and actually places the needs of others in front of our calendar-shaped lives.
How many times have you walked through the intramural field or the promenade this year? Ten? Thirty? One hundred times? Today, may you encounter the reality of the Kingdom of God that lays hidden in fields, promenades, family members and bearded homeless men, waiting to be stumbled over by men and women who only have the eyes to see it.