On our refrigerator we have photos of our darling grandchildren (to make me smile every day). Also, we have this quote that causes us to try to keep our “feet in the race” or “our hearts outwardly focused.”
Henry Drummond (1851-1897) only lived 46 years. But here I am quoting him today.
He was a Scottish evangelist who assisted Dwight L. Moody in many of his campaigns. If you are not familiar with him, enjoy reading about this man who used a few years to influence future generations. He stated:
“Keep in the midst of life. Do not isolate yourself. Be among men and things, and among troubles, and difficulties, and obstacles.”
Isn’t that an amazing statement? I could stop right there. But let’s think about being “in the midst” with our best example...Jesus.
One of my favorite stories of Jesus is in Matthew concerning his relationship with John the Baptist. Of course, we know John was very important in introducing Jesus Christ to the people. Some background on this relationship:
In Matthew 11, John was in prison. He (verse 3) sent to Jesus and asked if Jesus is really the One they should believe. Jesus did not say, “Go ask John what is he thinking??? Of course! I am the MAIN MAN! Doesn’t he know that???” No, Jesus instead just had the disciples go to remind John “again” about all the good things that had been done. Then Jesus proceeded to say in verses 7-15 that “among them that are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” No criticism of John’s concerns...only praise for the servant he was for Jesus.
Now to how Jesus exemplifies being “in the midst” as Henry Drummond reminds us...
In Matthew 14, John had been beheaded because of his preaching truth. When Jesus (verse 13) heard about John’s death, He “departed by ship into a desert place apart:” Notice that punctuation after “apart” tells us the verse has not ended yet.
The rest of verse 13 says: “And when the people had heard thereof they followed Him on foot out of the city.”
What did Jesus do? Did He say, “Leave me alone. I need to grieve. I am so weary!”
Verse 14 needs no explanation about Jesus being “in the midst of life...among men...” as Henry Drummond implores us to be:
“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them and he healed their sick.”
Of course, we will have times of grief, of rest alone, of “getting away.” We need to be willing to “Keep in the midst of life. Do not isolate yourself. Be among men and things, and among troubles, and difficulties, and obstacles.” God needs us to touch other people’s lives for His glory.