What Would Jesus Do…Really?

It was plastered everywhere. Hemp necklaces, beaded bracelets, wall plaques, book covers, T-shirts, bumper stickers, even paper weights. The” WWJD” insignia was hugely popular, at least for a season. But then, like all passing fads it gradually disappeared, only to surface occasionally as 25 or 50-cent items at garage sales, or worn, often somewhat shabbily, by die-hard enthusiasts.

It was a good fad, as fads go. It certainly got Jesus’ name out there in the public awareness. Still, I doubt that many of the people who wore the jewelry actually knew the origin of the craze. Some were genuinely devoted disciples of Jesus. Probably more though were enthralled with the latest rage, and a religious slogan about a “mystical” Superhero seemed like a cool body adornment. Certainly it was less expensive and permanent than a tattoo.

Way back when I was in college I read Charles Sheldon’s classic novel, In His Steps.  Few stories have impacted me so deeply. For weeks afterward I felt like I was seeing the world through a new lens. I found myself constantly asking the same question that had transformed an entire fictitious town… the question that, decades later, was as popular as tie-dye had once been:” What would Jesus do?”  It obsessed me. Then slowly, gradually, like happened to the trinket trend, the question lost its popularity. It ceased to haunt me.

But it’s back again. Only this time it’s been much more perplexing.  I’ve been wrestling with it. In college, perhaps in my youthful idealism, it seemed so much easier to answer. At that point in my life, I pictured Jesus always operating in a super-spiritual dimension. I dreamed about being as zealous about winning lost souls as He was. I envisioned myself consumed every waking hour with spiritual pursuits.

Then I got married, had children, cared for a household, went to a job, and suddenly those dreams seemed to be… fantasy. Oh, spiritual goals were (and still are) immensely important to me, but the demands of real life consumed so much time. Weeks, months and years passed by like a snap of the fingers. I’ve enjoyed the Lord’s presence the whole time, but lately that “WWJD?” has been needling me again.

Only this time I find myself asking, “What would Jesus reallydo in my situation?” If Jesus were a middle aged (or as my son categorizes me, “a young, older” adult) individual with a spouse, kids, grandkids, a job, bills, health challenges, a community of family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and a to-do list that is never-ending… what wouldHe do? Would He go solo to Lancaster city each evening to chat with passers-by? Would He attend every event offered by His local church…and, speaking of churches, which one would He prefer? How much time would He devote to prayer, Bible memorization, evangelism and ministering to the poor, sick, needy and lost? Would He ever sit at home in the evening with his feet up, watching a mystery movie, solving a Sudoku puzzle or working on a hobby? Would He make home-made ice cream and sit on a porch rocker, listening to the crickets, smelling the lilacs, and savoring the smooth frozen treat? Would He throw a ball with His grandchildren, or sleep in after an exhausting day? Or are all of those things too “earthy,” too inconsequential, too unspiritual for Him?

But godliness with contentment is great gain. …Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. God… richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life (I Timothy 6:6, 11, 17-19).

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody (I Thessalonians 4:11-12).

I guess there’s a balance. The “good things” of this world that I enjoy are gifts from God’s hand, meant for my pleasure (and the pleasure of all His children). But how often do I revel in these, without a thought of thanks to my Father for providing them? And how often to I indulge in the easy luxuries and entertainments of this world, neglecting the harder path of sacrifice for the good of others? And how often do I wallow in self-produced guilt, because I do so little “spiritual” stuff?

Oh my… I find myself back to that pesky question again: ”What would Jesus do… really?”

Now here’s a new thought… perhaps if I would ask Him, He’d actually tell me what He’d do.

Somehow I believe Jesus’ answer would be just right, every time.