(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
by John Shirk
Our guest writer for the next 3 Catches will be our Director of Discipleship, John Shirk. John lives with his wife Amy and their 4 daughters in Chicago, Illinois. They minister to the postmodern artistic subculture and to victims of trauma and abuse. The tools of their ministry include chocolate chip cookies, vegan chili, and poetry. John is the author of A Sacrificial Poet.
It’s been said that a life of faith doesn’t pay very well but the retirement plan is to die for! Lazarus lived a life of faith and was enjoying his retirement. His sisters weren’t. They were left behind, grieving his death. But Lazarus had left this broken, sinful world to enjoy his eternal reward. Or so he thought.
Then Jesus spoke, “Lazarus come forth!” calling him out of retirement. Most believers look forward to leaving this fallen world to see Jesus face to face. But not Lazarus. He was called back to a fallen world to see Jesus face to face.
The result was a party. Mary and Martha and the rest of the mourners began to rejoice. It was a miracle. Their dead brother had come alive.
Do you ever wonder how Lazarus felt?
You mean I have to go back there? Back to a body with aches and pains? Back to an alarm clock rousing me for another day at the office? What do you mean I still have work to do? I was ready to rest in peace and enjoy the rewards of a life of faith.
Somehow I doubt it. If heaven is living in the presence of Jesus, then Lazarus left the afterlife for heaven on earth. I suspect he celebrated the opportunity to join Jesus in His work. That is exactly where we find him in John 12. Hanging out with Jesus, a living testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, drawing people to believe. It got so bad that Jesus’ enemies plotted to kill him along with Jesus.
Somehow I doubt Lazarus was worried. He had already died once. He knew that with Jesus, death was not a terminal condition.
I’m wondering how many of us are Lazarus. After a long life of faith we find ourselves comfortably retired. We may not be dead, but we may as well be. We are ready to live out our golden years in comfort and then die and see Jesus face to face.
But what if Jesus is calling us out of retirement like Lazarus. “Come forth!” What if he wants us to come alive and join Him as He works in a broken, sinful world? What if He wants us to hang out with Him as He draws others to believe in Him?
It has been said that some Christians are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good. They need to get their head out of the clouds and join Jesus in His mission on earth. Lazarus did that. Jesus called him forth and he came alive.
May we too come alive!