I’m clinging to these words lately.
I feel like I’m about 2 for 1,675 when it comes to actually accomplishing the things I set out to do. It seems I’m always getting thwarted, distracted, worn out, or discouraged – sometimes before I even get a chance to start.
Our culture isn’t always very friendly to those of us tripping over ourselves. I just want to catch my breath, but I’m hunted down by words like momentum, hustle, drive, ambition, and goal-setting. Constant movement and activity. And a lot of striving.
In the Christian world, we like to baptize all of this and call it radical living.
A gentle reminder came my way last week. Did you know the word “radical” actually comes from a word that means ROOTED?
As I look around at the frenetic pace of the world, I’m starting to think the most radical thing we could do is Just. Stay. Planted.
Of course this doesn’t mean we don’t pursue goals. And it doesn’t mean we won’t need perseverance and determination. It is gritty, difficult work for a seed to press itself into the dirt and darkness, to take the path down instead of up, to be willing to break and crack, in order to become all it was meant to become. Being rooted is not an easier path.
That’s why it’s radical.
But it does mean that if we strive for anything, we strive first to abide in Christ. It means everything we do is held together and birthed and cultivated and completed for and from and within the finished work of the One who already accomplished everything He set out to do.
“It is finished,” He said.
The most striking part of this phrase, for me, is the tense used in the original Greek language. In one sense, it means something has been accomplished, once and for all. And at the same time, it means the work is still ongoing. We have here a beautiful paradox that means something like “It is finished and will continued to be finished.” So not only did Christ accomplish all He set out to do; the work we have left to do is being done in and through Him still today. He didn’t leave it for us to finish alone.
Being rooted is to stay grounded in this truth. And as we do, the goals we reach for and accomplish – those fruits we bear – will come from a place of humble receptivity to the sun and the rain rather than our incessant effort to make something happen. One is built on grace. The other, on gumption. As a friend and I like to say: this is the difference between organic living and injecting everything with growth hormones so we can make it all bigger, faster.
It might look pretty, but it’s not very good for you.
So, if you feel tired and worn out from the feverish pace of the world, I hope these words are a gentle, cooling breeze.
“IT IS FINISHED.”