Three Years
Bowen Miller

Something that’s had my attention lately, has been the question of when is enough, enough? Of everything: food, work, family, ministry, others, myself and more. How much of my time do I give, how much of my attention, when, where, how? Food has been a big question for me lately, as I have been seeking to lose weight. How much do I pay attention to the fact that my body is clawing at my consciousness to eat more, when I’m modifying how much I take in to lose weight? When is brute forcing myself to not eat end? Someone said it was meant to get easier…. They lied! Well, at least that hasn’t been my experience.

This question of enough, has brought something I have thought about before into focus, something I think I might have spoken about in a past blog. I have always been fascinated by the fact that Jesus’ official ministry period only lasted 3 years. Of course, this is an oversimplification of the story of Jesus’ ministry. But when you have a look at his earthly body ministry, it seems to be the case. I find it a very strange thought to think of Jesus just doing life. Wondering why his mum keeps worrying about their brother. Walking through the streets of his hometown, picking up his latest carpentry job. Spending thousands of hours on his craft, working with wood, tools and possibly unhappy people because they didn’t get the product they thought they would. More of his 33 years on earth were spent doing those things, rather than his ministry. Then something else I find surprising is upon returning to his hometown, people are surprised about his wisdom and scriptural knowledge. Suggesting that he wasn’t going about wowing people, as he then did in the last three years of his life on earth. I’m sure he must have been different before those years. We understand that because he is found in the synagogue as a child, with the Rabbi’s wondering how a boy could have such questions and such answers. He was there for a whole three days before his parents found him. Talk about a parental heart attack. So why at 30 did he start? Why not earlier? Why not later? I could be wrong but I don’t think there is a particularly definitive answer as to why Jesus starts his ministry when he does – other than the calling of god, seemingly beginning with John the Baptist proclaiming him.

As I look at this story of Jesus, I think I’m looking for an answer to the question of being regular. Sometimes it can be exhausting, being in the mindset of 3 years. Jesus’s three years were effective, they were wild, they would have been exciting, crazy, scary, overwhelming, and much more. But Jesus spends three of his 33 years here. Ten percent of his time.

So, back to the question of when is enough, enough? Why am I even asking this question? Well, it doesn’t have to do with finishing my ministry or if I’ve had enough. But, there is an ongoing question of when do I rest? When do I pause on self-improvement, when do I take a break from pushing for more? I ask this question whenever I’m counselling someone because there seems to be a fine line between progress that is life giving, and progress that is driven by the feeling of not being good enough. That the healthiest thing to do seems to be, to celebrate the small wins, then take a break. Using the propelling force of these wins to push for the next thing. But, the break really seems to matter, the ability to stop, take stock and encouragement from the wins. I was working with someone that hadn’t stopped to look at the progress they had made in 3 months. They were a bit stunned as they reflected on where they started and where they are now. Not realising how different their ability to deal with life was.

I identify with this, as soon as something is done, I don’t take the time to stop and I don’t spend time thinking about it, I’m instantly thinking about the next thing. Then the next and then someone asks me, what have you been up to? My answer is…..I can’t even remember.

At the moment I’m looking at stopping more and being grateful, and thankful for the things I have and the things I have been through. Whether that is family, Church, friends, or anything else.

So, what about the 3 years? Well, I don’t feel like I have a solid answer yet but maybe one is coming. For now, I work on what I do have. Maybe this blog will have a sequel.