bequeathment | John 14.27-31
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. John 14:27-31 | ESV
“That deep, abiding wholeness called shalom, peace. That’s what I bequeath to you – with no strings attached like the world’s ‘gifts.’ No more upended hearts consumed with turmoil and frothing with fear. Hold on to what you’ve heard me say to you: ‘I’m leaving, but I’m coming back to you.’ If you really loved me as you say, you’d be doing cartwheels for me, because I’m heading into Abba’s arms – and there’s no one like my Abba! No one! I’ve been giving you a heads up about all this before any of it happens, so that whenever it does play out, you won’t have a shadow of a doubt. But the time for talk is short – I don’t have much more to say! The Powerbroker of this world system is knocking on the door, and he’s got nothing on me. His arrival on the scene will only serve one purpose: proof positive to this world system that I love my Abba and that what Abba says, I do.”
“Look at the time! It’s time to step out into the wide world.” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
My father wasn’t prepared when he died.
His will was outdated.
Ten years later, we did see some funds from his considerable wealth, but all I remember seeing in my hand at the time of his death, of all that he owned, was a set of his golf clubs. And I didn’t (and don’t) golf. I went out once with a friend to actually use them – to attempt to use them. When I swung the wood driver the ball flew – and so did the head of the wood. It flew off into the trees on the nearly abandoned (fortunately) course.
I never found it.
But I did use the headless club as a pointer during my Sunday sermons.
Some bequeathments are more timely and valuable than others. Of all the things that Jesus could say he is leaving to them, he singles out one key, rich Hebrew word: shalom.
Shalom holds so much more for us than the “absence of hostilities” we often associate with our word “peace.”
There is a wholeness, an “everything falling into place and being right where it belongs,” a thriving fittedness. The classic Old Testament picture is that of someone sitting under their own vine and their own fig tree within the pleasant boundaries of their own heritage.
It’s not just the absence of hostilities, it’s the presence of good that is felt soul deep.
The world can promise and arrange cease-fires.
Jesus offers a deep, healing, abiding wholeness of being that no fire can consume.
And in the rough and tumble of the now and the not yet, there is no bequeathment that could be more crucial or timely.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 | The Message
What have you been fretting over most recently? How can you allow Christ to displace this worry at the center of your life? What practical steps do you need to take to let it go?
Spirit of peace, I open my arms to you; I open my heart wide to you today. Take my list, my litany of consuming worries and shape it into a song in my mouth. Show me where and how to rest under my own vine and fig tree, as I sing, “Surely the boundary lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, O Lord” – even when the view is less than appealing. Through Christ.