Jesus in a Can

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had Jesus in a can? I don’t mean actually squeezing Jesus into a can or any other permutation you might conjure up, but the presence of Jesus – in a can.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a supply on hand to give to people we know? “Here, you look like you could use Jesus in your life. Have some Jesus, on me.”

Imagine going out into the world and being able to distribute Jesus to the masses and making Jesus available to even those who might not realize how much they needed him until they got him.

Visitors to our churches who have never known Jesus – they would be invited to stop by our Jesus vending machine. There’s no cost, Jesus and grace are free of course.

The idea sounds… what’s the word… easy? … convenient? … efficient? Oh, I know – impersonal or ineffective or unworthy.

The task is not to give Jesus to others. Our call is to be Jesus for others and introduce others to the Jesus we know – the Jesus within us. We’re not the distributors of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we’re the containers. Jesus isn’t found in a can, he’s found in us, hopefully.

I read the following line in a blog, “Covered in the Master’s Dust” where Ben Gosden had posted his rewrite of section of the United Methodist Book of Discipline – Theological Guidelines: Sources and Criteria:

The Christian witness, even when grounded in the overall narrative of Scripture and mediated by tradition, is ineffectual unless understood and embodied by both the individual and the community.

To me it basically says that we can’t simply put Jesus in a can and distribute him out to the world around us. Unless we embody the gospel, unless we – as individuals and as a church – truly live our lives transformed by the grace of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit, then those who don’t know Jesus may never know Jesus. Unless we live our lives intentionally to bring good news to the poor and release the captives, unless we set free those who are oppressed, unless we stop living for ourselves and start living for the Kingdom of God, then our Christian “witness” will be ineffective. Until we are the containers of Christ who allow God to use us to pour out his grace on others, Jesus might as well be in a can.

What does it mean? It means this:

Our life is not our own
Our church is not our own
Our future is not ours to determine
Our neighbor is not just the person next door
and our resources are not ours to do with as we wish

Lots of people need to know the love, grace, joy
and peace that comes through Jesus Christ.
He’s not in a can.
He’s in you. He’s in us.
It’s about time we let him out, don’t you think?

Holy high-five to you,
Mike


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One response to “Jesus in a Can

  1. I have come to some realizations this past week and your writing played right into my week. I I realized this week that God intends me to be human with all that goes with that. I need to learn to remain grounded in this world while reaching for the divine. My very human frailty is an advantage for showing others the glory of God because they are not intimidated nor do they see Jesus as out of reach. After all, Jesus came to this world as a human to show others the way. Had I found perfection when I came to Asbury, I would have bowed my head in shame instead of prayer and fled.

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