Last week when my wife and I were checking out our groceries at our local Super Walmart, the cashier who was quietly going about her job suddenly paused and looked at Piper and then asked me what happened to her. I smiled and proceeded to tell her about the early onset of Alzheimer’s. Well, this gal took a breath and went off on a long and detailed report of her father’s experience with Alzheimer’s. And I must say, I don’t think she missed any of the depressing details. She would describe something he did and then would pause and ask if Piper had done that yet! I would deliberately pause in order to try and regain some control of the situation and gently say no and give a brief explanation of the sweet spirit that prevails in her.
My tactics didn’t seem to have any effect on her as she just kept going on and on… finally when she took a breath, I jumped in and told her how we weren’t giving up in that we served a mighty and powerful God who can do anything! Well, that finally got her attention! She stopped, thought for a moment, smiled a bit and stated “My Mom didn’t give up either.” So with that I breathed a sigh of relief and began to share our stand of faith when she bagged an item she’d just rung up and went right back into her depressingly negative report as if I never said a thing!
At that point my reaction was interesting as it felt like I stepped out of myself and began to look at the whole scene as a neutral bystander. I saw her mouth moving and thought to myself… “I wonder what her impression of God is?” There was definitely no conviction of faith in her words. I am sure that she heard what I had said, but my words had not registered any understanding with her. She had a different point of view or “intent” with her story and that was the only way she could receive things into her life.
When we had completed our transaction she gave me a little smile, turned and zoned right out into her own private world again. I simply smiled back but yet inwardly shook my head. As we went out the door I bent over and in a whisper chuckled to my wife and firmly declared that we sure weren’t going to receive any of her negative reports!
I think that Jesus might have had some of the same reactions as me when He spoke to the hometown crowds at the synagogue in Nazareth after reading from the book of Isaiah in Luke chapter four. As He handed back the scroll, The Message Bible relates that “Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, ‘You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.’ ” (Luke 4:20-21)
As you read on in the chapter it becomes very obvious that Jesus and the people were not on the same page! When Piper and I returned home from Oklahoma a few years back, it also became quite obvious that certain members of our extended families were not on the same page as us. And while I have to believe that we both had the same goal in mind, they definitely had no understanding of what we were emotionally going through and seemed to take actions that only made our situation worse!
The hometown folks in the synagogue that day only saw Jesus as the home grown kid who had made a name for Himself. I don’t believe that they had any inkling of His God given anointing… even though He had just plainly told them about it! Their “intent” would not allow them to “hear” what He was really saying! The word “intent” that is translated as “fastened” in the King James Version is defined in the Greek as “metaphorically: to fix one’s mind on one as an example.” They only saw Jesus as an example of their own experiences and belief system.
Dictionary.com relates that in a court of law the meaning of “intent” is “the state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions towards a specific object.” From that definition we can deduce that Jesus’ family and friends minds were directed in a totally different line of thought than was the clear “intent” of Jesus stated purpose… and when He pointed this out to them they got so upset that they tried to kill him! I’m sure glad that our detractors didn’t take that same approach! It is interesting to note though, that Luke describes the results of the potentially dangerous situation saying, “So they got up, forced Jesus out of the city, and led him to the cliff. They intended to throw him off of it. But Jesus walked right by them and went away.” (Luke 4:29-30 God’s Word ©)
The story relates no negative response from Jesus, but only that He simply and successfully stepped away from the problem and walked right past them. From there He went on to change the outcome of the world during the next three years of His life! He stayed true to His calling in the face of derogatory comments and actions and as we see later on in the book of Acts and the epistles, that most of Jesus’ family and friends later became stanch believers in Him!
As I studied from the viewpoint of “intent” this morning, I felt challenged to look deep inside to see what my personal “intent” was in my relationship with the Lord in my daily walk with the people around me. Am I seeing and living my daily existence with an “intent” that lines up with God’s, or do I have my own hidden agenda? As I got up to go into the bedroom to help my wife up for the day I froze when I suddenly began to wonder if I was seeing Piper’s healing through my own intentions or Papa God’s? Was I wanting her well for my benefits, to meet my needs for companionship, intimacy and the wonderful words and actions of encouragement that only she can give to me?
Hummm… as I pondered those questions I was a little surprised at the answers I heard when I was honest with myself! What kind of answers would you receive today if you asked questions about your personal “intent” concerning the various people and activities in your life? I know that I had to make some changes in my “intent” this morning… but you know, those changes felt right… they felt good… REALLY GOOD!
I like it when my intentions are on the same page as Papa God’s… and I believe that you will too! Have a wonderful day. Stay in tune and on the same page as God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s “INTENT” am I expecting today?”