When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside.
Matthew 5:1 MSG
When I first read this, I thought Jesus was trying to get to a place where everyone could hear him. As I read on, I realized that was not the case.
Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.
Matthew 5:2 MSG
Jesus only spoke, on this occasion, to those who climbed up the hill with him. The people who made the extra effort were rewarded with his words.
I have often found that, when I have made the extra effort to go to church when I didn’t feel like it, I have been rewarded with hearing God’s word. Something in the message makes me glad I came.
Jesus had something to share that day that required his listeners’ undivided attention. It required getting away from the crowd and finding a quiet place.
For me, finding a quiet place can mean shutting out all the other thoughts in my head. The text messages and “to do” lists have to be set aside. With so many other things vying for our time and attention, getting alone with God can seem impossible. It may require a climb of sorts. For me, it means getting up earlier than my son, who likes to get up pretty early. I am finding that it is worth it. I have started looking forward to that early hour. And all the other things I could be accomplishing in that time? God seems to help me out with that, too.
Luke 6:38 NIV says, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap…..”
The great Martin Luther King, Jr. found that this applied to the time he was willing to give God as well as his finances and talents. He is quoted as saying, “I give my first hour of the day to God and God gives me all the rest.” He made that extra effort to hear what God would say to him, just like the committed followers in Jesus’ day. Will you climb the hill? Maybe He has something to say to you, too.