“The report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15,16).

COMPARING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE TO A MELODY, THERE ARE TWO KEYS THE MELODY CAN BE PLAYED IN: ACTIVE AND CONTEMPLATIVE. Some Christians tend in the direction of active service while others tend toward quiet devotion. Neither is inherently wrong; there is a need for both. We should be cautious before criticizing someone for not doing discipleship exactly as we do it.

In the life of Jesus and His apostles, we see some times of activity and other times of quietness. “Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:30,31). Just so, the life of the individual Christian will move through different periods, some more active and some more contemplative.

But what about the Lord’s church? Is there not room in the kingdom for individuals whose overall lives tend more in one direction than the other? The answer should be an obvious “Yes!” The body needs all, and we all need each other. As Paul warned, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’ ” (1 Corinthians 12:21).

If I’m a more active Christian and you’re more contemplative, I need your example to remind me to take time for spiritual refreshment. And if I’m more contemplative and you’re more active, I need your example to remind me that Christianity is about more than just “my God and I.” Together we’re stronger than we would be without the influence of the other, and we should be careful not to criticize or minimize the other. Neither of us has a personality or style of service that is inherently superior to others. And arguing over who’s putting the emphasis where it’s most needed is little more than a waste of time. None of us, all by ourselves, will get the emphasis right — it’s together that the Lord’s work gets done.

“There are two kinds of Christian living. One is a life of activity. The other is the contemplative life. These two lives are united. It is impossible to live the one without having some of the other” (Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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