I do not call you servants that I own anymore. A servant does not know what his owner is doing. I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from My Father.
-Jesus, John 15:15
Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Just imagine this scenario:
You’re a fifty year old woman and your daughter has traveled into town to spend the morning visiting with you. You go to a cafe and walk through some parks. It’s such a good day. You cherish the time together. The next day, you’re having coffee with one of your good friends and she asks about your time. You tell her what a good day it was. Then she says,
“I’m so glad to hear that! What was your takeaway?”
“Um….what do you mean?"
"I mean, what did you get out of it?"
"Well that’s kind of a strange question. I’m not sure how to answer. She’s my daughter. We just enjoyed our time together."
"Oh. Well what did you talk about most of the time?"
"I can’t even remember. A lot of things. Some small talk. And some of the time we were just together. I’m not sure you really understand how this all works.”
Would you respond similarly to those questions if you were the woman? I would too.
Yet it seems that when we speak of the relationship we have with Jesus, those are the sorts of questions we get used to asking ourselves and each other. Are we missing the point a bit?
We live in a world heavily influenced by the values of efficiency and productivity. We want everything that we do to accomplish something. It’s a part the American mindset.
But here’s the thing: we rarely think about time with friends and family that way. And according to the New Testament understanding, Jesus is both friend and family.
Why is our language about time with Jesus so often laced with subtle assumptions that it must have results to be meaningful? That every time together is supposed to be a big life lesson, rather than just an enjoyment of being together? Certainly, there will be times with friends and family where we accomplish great things together and have profound conversations. But there’s also just….. hanging out.
Jesus is your lord, your friend, and your brother. Hanging out together is enough. Will you have deep and memorable conversations sometime? Absolutely. Will that be the reality EVERY SINGLE TIME you hang out? Absolutely not. But that was never the point.
The first thing that Mark mentions about why Jesus calls the disciples is so that they might "be with him.” That's the point. Purpose and action emerge after that.
Many Christians think that they are not getting anything out of times of prayer or stillness with Jesus if it doesn’t feel productive. They’re missing the point.
We spend time sitting and walking and talking with Jesus because prayer and presence shapes us in ways that we can’t describe. We do it because that’s what you do with the people that you love. You spend time with them. And that’s enough. Nothing has to be accomplished.
Dwelling in stillness with God is not important because you walk away with something. Your time is good because you are choosing to walk with someone. A productivity mindset may actually hinder you from being transformed by God's love. Maybe you’re turning a gift into a task. Lay off the guilt and pressure and see how much delight there is out there.
Each day has plenty of tasks and expectations. Prayer doesn’t need to become one of them. That’s super good news. Enjoy the freedom.
Jesus, help me rest in your presence. That’s all I need.