Jesus in your shadow
17Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
What a huge command. Maybe you should read it again.
It’s a simple command: Take Jesus with you throughout the day. Sort of like “take a child to work today”.
Years ago, when I worked at the Spur, we always had to train the new waiters. We called it shadowing, because the new person had to stick close to you, and go with you wherever you went to watch what you were doing. In other words, that person had to move in your shadow the whole time.
I think that is what Paul meant here. We must allow Jesus to move in our shadow. Close to us. In our shadow God will be close enough to give us good advice and to show us the direction we should go. Yes, there where we have to think on our feet, even then God will and does help us, because he is right here next to us.
When I was working in the business world, we often had to interview applicants for jobs. When the short-listed three returned for a second round of interviews, we asked much more in-depth questions, so that we could appoint the right person.
One of the questions was: What do you think is your competitive advantage? In other words, what characteristic do you have that will make us choose you rather than the other applicants? The answer to that question usually led to our selection and the person we eventually appointed.
As Christians, each of us has a competitive advantage: Jesus is in our shadow! That gives us a head start in the world! Now we’re able to take on hard life and live successfully. We kind of have the inside track, because Jesus goes with us everywhere. When we are sensitive to his guidance, we’ll make the right decisions.
However, the problem is that we forget about this advantage. We get so caught up in the stuff we have to do every day that we overlook Jesus right here next to us, standing in our shadow. And as a result, our choices don’t always look that good.
We will have to make a plan to see Jesus. Each of us has to set the alarm so that we can consciously see Jesus around us. If your phone rings often, make that your alarm.
So, every time your phone rings, say to yourself: Jesus is in my shadow. If your radio is playing the whole day, every time the news is announced on the hour, say to yourself: Jesus is in my shadow. Find something that will make you aware of the One in your shadow. Later on, you will become used to it and make Jesus part of your life the whole day long.
When we then realise that Jesus walks with us all day long, we’ll be able to live a life of gratitude. Then other people will see what Jesus looks like. Then other people will want to live like that as well. Then you will be making a difference in the world!
What is your competitive advantage?
What does it mean for others that Jesus is in your shadow?
What alarms can you use during the day for you to remember that the Holy Spirit is with you?
Jesus, I long for You to walk with me every day. I would like to make You part of my whole day. Without your guidance, I simply mess up too much. Please take my hand and make me aware of your presence right next to me every moment of the day. Amen.