The other day, I read the news on my phone. Then I read the passages for Sunday morning from Exodus 20 and Philippians 3 and Matthew 21. Then I read the news again.
And I faced a decision. Which do I want to know more, Christ or the crises?
Do I want to know each speculation about what the action of this person or that will mean? Do I want to continue to research the latest comment on the latest report on the latest celebrity? Do I want to know what my friends think about that comment so I can get frustrated?
The “research” into my social media feeds makes me an expert in ephemera. It’s from a Greek word, meaning things that last only one day. And in truth, that’s how long the commentaries last, just a moment, just a day. Until the next comment comes, and the next one.
Paul understood pursuing something that only lasted a short time. He understood pursuing a reputation for expertise, a resume of excelling. He was the top in his field, he said, with all the right credentials.
Until he had a conversation with Jesus. The rule-keeping he thought gave him status had kept him from the relationship that would give him life.
And then, he spent the rest of his life in conversation with Jesus, living a life that was more and more like the life Jesus lived. Paul was willing to live humbly, like Jesus did. He was willing to defer his comfort, like Jesus did. He was willing to talk with people whenever and wherever they were, offering them freedom from trying to measure up to the rules he’d measured up to.
Paul lived a life of giving up his own priorities and accepting the priorities of Jesus. Given the choice, he chose knowing more about Christ. It meant that he didn’t know the latest gossip about Caligula, but he decided it was worth the exchange.