I took a break recently from all social networks because I heard Father clearly, almost loudly beckoning me to come away with Him.
Now, all I can say is “You are soooooo awesome, Father!!! You have made me feel Your Love like I’ve never felt it before; like You are standing right at my side ; like I can feel Your breath on my cheek; like my heart is bursting with You! I’m breathless! I’m in awe! I’m soooo complete!” What more could I ask from any part of my life? What could I ever wish for that could match this? “Father, You are mine and I am Yours! And I live in Paradise with You, right here on this Earth!”
This was what happened to me the first few days. And it surprised me. I thought I would be sadly mourning my time away from friends, and the sometimes intense interaction. Instead, it felt like I had virtually jumped into the River of Life and the Son was shining, and the rainbows were colorful.
I’d also like to mention that during the first couple days, I received 2 unexpected refund checks. They were more than sufficient to buy some extra things I had on my list. These things would be on the luxury list rather than the necessity list. Father absolutely LOVES to give me my ‘wants’ far above and beyond my needs. He isn’t stingy. He spoils me. He lavishes me. He LOVES when I’m enjoying.
It reminds me of my husband. When I spend one-on-one time with him, I usually begin receiving gifts. Not because he’s trying to reward me for my attention. Rather it’s just because I’m there when the opportunity arises. For instance, if I’m with him while he’s puttering in the garage, he finds things I should have; a better hammer, a shelf, a pretty hook or a new screw driver. You see, I’m a very handy sort of woman and many of the ‘fix-it’ things on my “Honey-Do” list are done by me. So these gifts are treasures. They make my ‘fix-it’s’ easier. It’s not that my husband wouldn’t fix them for me. He knows I enjoy doing them myself. So his gifts are thoughtful and pampering, but they happen more plentifully when I’m hanging out with him.
Hmm, it must be like that with Father, too. This is the way relationship works. It takes one-on-one time.
I see Jesus talks about a solitary, personal relationship with Father that cannot be substituted by any third party. “Regardless of whether you are in Jerusalem or on this mountain, if you do not seek the Father, then you do not worship.” He said to the woman at the well in John 4.
He talks about it being personal but I don’t see Him trying to talk anyone into it. I don’t see Him finding people on the street to ask if they know, so He can explain it to them. I don’t see Him pursuing people. Actually, people pursued Him because of the miracles (some fruit?). One exception might be that He went looking for the Apostles, but after that, they pursued Him. And within that group, the ones who pursued Him the most were the ones who saw the greatest supernatural displays.
For instance, Peter, James and John saw the transfiguration and I’m thinking they were there because they followed Him down the street. I’m not sure Jesus actually invited them. It doesn’t say. But afterward, Jesus didn’t run to the others exclaiming “Guess what just happened to me! Wow, it was awesome! I have to share it with you so you will get one of your own!”
Jesus talks a lot about hidden treasure, but never talks about sharing it. Why have we been taught to pursue experiences and revelations, and then run share it with everyone so they can have one too? Jesus talks about finding the hidden treasure and keeping it. He talks about selling all that we have to get it. He never says to give this away. Is this treasure the relationship? Is the relationship the tree that produces the fruit – love, joy, peace . . . .? The fruit that is there for others to enjoy? The light we cannot hide under a bushel?
A tree doesn’t chase people down and hit them over the head with its fruit. A tree stands firmly in the ground and produces fruit which is available to anyone who will reach out and take it. And a light stands on a table and shines out over the whole room. Whoever appreciates it will enjoy the beams. It’s freely available.
But Jesus talked in parables so those hearing would not understand what He was saying. That would not seem to be freely available. It was something hidden. He even did this to the Apostles who didn’t understand many of the things He said. He explained a few to them but became frustrated with their lack of understanding even after 3 years.
So if it wasn’t freely available, then how did anyone ever come to understand anything He said? The Disciple’s had to receive the Holy Spirit before they could understand. And receiving the Holy Spirit was through their pursuit of it. They had to go spend time and wait for it. They had to get their own honest-to-goodness personal relationship with Father through His Spirit.
Remember the story of the 10 virgins? When the 5 foolish ones asked the wise ones to share, they refused. Didn’t that story bother you in light of the teaching to ‘give and you shall receive’? Or being a “servant of all” ? And yet here they said “no” and were called ‘wise’.
My revelation for your consideration is that the oil and the treasure is our relationship with Father; our communion with the Holy Spirit; our sitting next to Jesus. We cannot give this away. As a matter of fact, we must treat it like a treasure that we guard, hide deeply within, and keep close to our heart.
As the wise virgins said “should we give to you and run out ourselves?” (my paraphrase) But we do it all the time. We run into situations ready to give of ourselves; of our oil and our fruit. And suddenly we begin to suffer because we are not only giving of our fruit, but also of our oil; our treasure. We forget that fruit is harvested by reaching out to take what is freely available, but oil is acquired through time in relationship.
Am I saying not to give to people in need? No; not at all. Give freely as the Spirit guides you.
What I’m saying is that we must define what we are giving away. Is it fruit, or is it oil? Fruit is our natural Produce. It is freely available to anyone who comes near. But oil is a treasure deep within our hearts that comes only by time in relationship. We cannot get it through others. We cannot share it and give it away. And we can only acquire it by spending time; solitary, one-on-one time. We cannot have a relationship on behalf of another. We cannot bleed relationship into someone who is struggling to acquire their own. We cannot be anyone’s savior. That was already done.
Yes, we can tell them where to get their own oil, just as the wise virgins told the foolish ones where to buy for themselves. But they didn’t share. They didn’t even trickle it to them while pleading with them to go buy their own.
The boundary was clear and simple. We must get our own oil. We can tell others where to go, but we cannot go for them. We cannot carry them there. We cannot share what we have. They have to get their own for themselves.
Getting oil isn’t really difficult. It’s the simplest thing in the world. But it takes a little bit of time and the foolish won’t take the time. That’s why they were called foolish. And the wise understood that giving their own oil away would, in the end, help neither of them. They would both run out.
My oil is full and running over now and I’m wiser for the time I spent. I will be pointing in the right direction but I cannot share my treasure. However, the Produce is freely available to all. You are Loved. Be full.