I have been reading a book over the last couple weeks, Deep-Rooted in Christ by Joshua Choonmin Kang. It is extremely rich in depth, yet very easy to read. There are 52 chapters, approximately 2-4 pages under each chapter heading; I have found this arrangement to be very easy to incorporate in my morning devotional and Bible readings. I plan to use this book in a future devotional study again. The richness and depth contained in these short readings deserves to have another look.
I am including an excerpt from one of the last few chapters. I am still contemplating the comparisons and illustrations Pastor Kang used in this teaching. I hope you find it as enlightening as I have.
Deep-Rooted in Christ: The Way of Transformation by Joshua Choonmin Kang
Excerpted from the book and chapter 50
Embracing One and All
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). What did Paul mean when he said that? What did Jesus mean when he said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29)? Yes, the heart of Jesus is gentle and humble. Yes, when he reigns in us, we’ll have true rest.
The heart of Jesus is meek. It embraces everyone. It’s comfortable but durable; it’s smooth as silk and yet hard as steel.
A meek heart is also a warm heart. Warmth is a sign of life. Little children feel warm to our touch. Healthy people glow with warmth. As we near the end of our life, we begin to lose our warmth and indeed our health; we feel the cold more and more.
The same thing holds true with a community. A vibrant community has warmth and tenderness. It’s flexible, gracious and has a heart to embrace everyone. A dying community, on the other hand, is cold, hard and stiff; it suffers from tensions, over interprets the laws and sets up barriers between people.
People want to embrace-and be embraced by-a person with a meek heart. For them such an embrace can be transforming. It’s something like the warm embrace that allows a baby chick to hatch; a nurturing environment. An eggshell cracks, and the young chick appears.
The meek heart of Jesus embraces everyone: tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners, the poor, the wealthy, the ignorant and the intelligent. They are transformed by this warm embrace. People who have been hard-shelled as eggs can experience renewal. With Jesus, their shells break. They come eagerly into the world. As we grow deeper in spiritual disciplines, we will no longer criticize, discriminate and condemn. Like Jesus, we’ll embrace everyone.
The heart of Jesus is a humble heart. It ascends to high places and descends to low places. It’s always at home, no matter what the neighborhood, although it seems more at home with the lowly than the mighty.
Consider the great earth! It receives everything at its lowest elevation. It gathers all living things. It can reproduce life. The earth receives rubbish, falling leaves, seeds from farmers and even from fruit trees. Then it transforms whatever it has received, giving back life in the form of beautiful flowers and blessed fruit. It is no great stretch of the imagination to compare Jesus with an earth like this.
Take a look at the ocean! An ocean is lower than any rivers that flow into it. An ocean receives clean things and dirty things, fair things and foul, and then transforms them all. The ocean accepts everything.
Jesus is also like an ocean. From the lowliest elevation he embraces everyone. When we speak about deeper spirituality, both earth and ocean are good comparisons. They embrace everything; in the same way, we should embrace everyone.