God’s Agenda

“What’s your plan for the day?” It’s a question we often ask people we care about.

It seems like an innocent enough question. We’re really interested in what the people we care about want to do, and what’s going on in their lives.

When agendas come together amazing things can happen. Relationships deepen. Love flourishes.  Life is abundant and rich.

All is well.

Then there are those other times.

There are times I ask the question because we already have our own plans, our own agenda, and I’m just trying to figure out when and how what I want to do will be accomplished. Will the other person participate in and support my agenda?

When agendas collide, conflict arises.

We all have our agendas, whether or not we write them down or say them out loud. We have that list of expectations, goals, to-dos.

At some level our agendas describe who we are and what we are about.

The question isn’t if we have agendas…because we do.

The question is whose agenda guides our life?

Jesus came to Nazareth, his hometown, with an agenda: good news to the poor, release to the captive, sight for the blind, freedom for the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

It was the same agenda that folks knew from the prophet Isaiah. And now it’s supposed to be happening today! That all sounds great, doesn’t it?

The folks there thought so… “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” The people loved it.

“Is not this Joseph’s son?” They recognize Jesus as one of their own. They know him. He knows them. They remember him when.

Hidden within their question, however, is an unspoken expectation, an agenda. “If that’s what he’s going to do for them, just think how much more he’ll do for us.”

We expect those close to us to support us and to agree with us. We take care of our own before we care for another. After all, family, whether by blood, ideology, or economics, has to stick together.


Not for Jesus…

“Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

I can imagine the people asking, “Why is he telling us about the great things God did for those outsiders…those foreigners? What about us?”

It must have sounded as if one of their own had turned on them, as if Jesus had betrayed and rejected them.

When they heard Jesus’ words “they were filled with rage.” They ran him out of town and tried to throw him off the cliff.

If you don’t like the message, kill the messenger.

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”

Which I guess is exactly why I am a priest in Keller, and not Fort Worth…

Jesus has a broad and expansive and abundant vision for his ministry, and the people seem to have a different, more narrow and scarce vision. They are so caught up in their own agenda they can’t hear, let alone participate in, God’s agenda.

What do you think? Does that ever happen in today’s world? In the church? In our own lives?

I wonder if our own agendas sometimes collide with God’s agenda.

Today is our annual meeting. We get to elect leaders, celebrate ministries, and…talk about the budget.

Do we approach this meeting…do we approach the affairs of the church…do we approach our discernment of God’s mission…with our own agendas? Our own ways of thinking how things should be done?

Or do we trust that this is the work we believe God is calling us to do? Do we trust that we are prayerfully discerning what we do and where we go?

And if we believe that, the next question is what are we – individually – going to do to support that work?

We’ll have plenty of time to talk about that over the coming weeks and months…

Back to the Gospel…

Jesus knew what God had called him to do. “Not my will, but yours be done,” if you remember Jesus’ phrase…

Jesus knew God’s agenda.

It isn’t always a popular agenda. It certainly won’t always be our agenda.

It’s God’s agenda.

And we have to decide what to do about it.

So what’s your plan for the day? For the year? For the rest of your life?

That’s not me asking this time. That’s a question God asks each one of us.