Someone has said that Jesus is the summit of a kind of spiritual evolution toward which we are all to be pointed.
Whenever we wish to accomplish a certain goal, we need to have a picture of it, so that we can move toward it. And so we humans need to have some idea as to what we were designed to be.
We need a picture -- a pattern. And Jesus is that design -- love upon love, forgiveness upon forgiveness. And Jesus is man -- man, the way God designed him to be.
When God made man back in the Garden of Eden, he had a visual picture of what he wanted humankind to become. But Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, and the fall of mankind took place.
They failed to live up to that picture of what God had in mind. So also, all of us have sinned and fallen short of the great design.
But God sent a second Adam, and Jesus is that model of our humanity. And this time, the model is perfect in every respect.
We cannot hope to live up to that sinlessness or perfection. But we can be like him. We can look unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
If physical evolution is slow, so also is spiritual evolution. The Jesus-goal is the model. In this man, Jesus, God got "all the bugs worked out."
If Detroit could ever come out with a model of an automobile that finally had all the problems cured, all the lemons unsoured, all the failures corrected, then they could say, "This is car -- car, the way car was meant to be."
Unfortunately, they can never say that. But God can say it, "Jesus is man -- man the way I meant him to be." Through the years, we have each had our vocations, and our jobs in life.
Sometimes we are confused about our reason for existence. Mother Teresa tells the story of a man working for her, who was assigned tasks about which he complained, "My vocation is to work for lepers," he said. "I want to spend myself for the lepers." Her answer to him was, "Brother, your vocation is not to work for lepers; your vocation is to belong to Jesus."
What is my task here on earth? Am I to work on committees? Am I to help in community affairs? Is my primary task to be a parent, or a member of the choir? Should I be attending all the board meetings that are on my schedule? At times, it is confusing.
But one thing I do know. There is a Jesus-goal. And my job in all things is to be like Jesus. I know I can't make it all the way. I just know I want to become like him. That's my goal.
Francis Guither, a pastor for 46 years, is the author of seven books. Guither is retired and lives in Quincy at Good Samaritan Home with his wife Katharine. His most recent church was Carthage United Methodist.