Mary knows the power in the words of her son. She knows it is time for a sign. Jesus tells her it’s not yet his time. But nevertheless, she continues regardless and says to the servants,
“Whatever he may be saying to you, do.”
When Jesus speaks, we do well to listen. Even more so we do well to hear. And most importantly we do well to obey!
At times Jesus instructions are so simple. “Fill the water pots to the brim.” And, “Draw out and carry to the chief of the dining room.”
There is something that we come to know about Jesus. When he says something, it is not something to be questioned. “Fill the water pots to the brim.” I’m certain no-one asks why. I’m also certain that no-one asks how. They don’t debate the best way to fill the water pots. They don’t consult anyone and get a second opinion. No committee is needed to decide how to fill these water pots.
They simply listen to and hear Mary. And then they listen to and hear Jesus. Does Jesus care how the water pots are filled? No. They just need to be filled to the brim. Just do it! Does he care how they draw some out? No. They just have to draw some out and take it to the feast master. Just do it!
Let’s take it a step further.
There are always others around who seem to know a better way of doing things. They have the experience and they know just what to do and how to do it. Imagine this….
“What are you doing?”
“We’re filling water pots to the brim.”
“Because he (pointing to Jesus) told us to.”
“OK, but why? What for? What’s the purpose? What will it achieve?”
“Er, we don’t know. He just told us to fill the water pots to the brim.”
“Right. What’s the point of that if you don’t know what will happen? And by the way, you’re doing it all wrong. This is how you fill water pots to the brim.”
Yes, that’s perhaps a bit extreme. Or maybe it’s not. The point is this. When Jesus says something, he wants us to do what he says. He doesn’t always tell us how to do it. And maybe that’s not important unless he says it’s important. “Am I doing what he said? I’m filling water pots to the brim. Yes!”
I’m learning afresh what can happen when we are obedient to the words of Jesus. When he instructs us to do something that doesn’t give us much of an idea as to how we are meant to do it, or what the end result will be. But the beauty of the simplicity of Jesus is that we do whatever he may be saying to us, and he knows the rest and works accordingly.
So last year Jesus gave me a very simple instruction. “Feed my sheep.” He didn’t tell me how to do this. He didn’t tell me what the end result would be. He didn’t tell me what other things would happen as a result (if he had I might not have done it!) He only guaranteed this. “Remain in me and I in you, and you’ll bear much fruit,” and that the food I am giving to others is Jesus himself.
Fruit is the product of the Life within us. And so this is all about learning to trust the Life within. No matter what. When Jesus tells me to do something, I can think about it, debate about it, try to get all the detail so that it is successful. I can seek a second opinion. Or I can do it as he is doing it and leave the rest to him.
That’s what I’ve learnt. Turns out there’s no one way to feed sheep that’s a guaranteed success. Some sheep like to chew their food a lot. Others like to take their time before eating anything. Others are voracious eaters! And so the need to trust the Life within is essential. To be the branch he has chosen me to be and let him do the rest.
And it’s important not to add anything extra to what he’s said. If he’s told me to fill a water pot to the brim, then I better do only what he’s said! Likewise, I had to learn to trust the Life within and do exactly what he said; “Feed my sheep.” And to keep going no matter what might happen around me.
And you know what? The beauty of the mystery of Jesus himself is that I could not have planned what has happened. I could not have orchestrated anything myself to achieve any kind of result. I have learnt to trust no matter what. It’s a wonderful thing to trust the Life within and let him unfold everything. Therein lies wonder and awe in all that he is and in all that he’s doing.
Imagine the servants seeing the water changed to wine. Imagine the awe and wonder that they experienced to see his glory revealed. Imagine seeing the result of doing just what he said and filling the water pots to the brim. Who wants to know exactly how it all works out? Not me! I want to be amazed by the Life himself and the fruit he produces. He chooses me to be a part of it. I’m thankful for that. But I wouldn’t swap his simple instructions for a detailed plan and end result for anything! I love being wowed by Jesus!
Perhaps Jesus has given you an instruction. Perhaps you’re trying to work out the end result, or how you’re going to do what he has said. Or perhaps there is someone else questioning why you’re doing what you’re doing, or suggesting a better way to do it.
Hear these words spoken to you. “Whatever he may be saying to you, do.” Learn to trust the Life within, and enjoy the wonder and awe of all that he does.
Eat the Living Bread, drink the Living Water. Just do it!