Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jesus Shall My Portion Be

Sounds like an odd title — kinda like a title of a book found in the dusty deserted halls of antiquity. Yet, as I mulled the words over and over again in my heart, they seemed perfect for a title. The order of the words somehow set the emphasis aright. Jesus shall my portion be … even when all the worldy pressures daily try to hack away at my peace. Even when all the distractions that life can bring. Even with pain. Even in the midst of sorrow and grief. Even when things appear to be out of order. Jesus shall my portion be — He is in order, and so is that sentence.

It may be a silly detail that just seems to speak to me at this particular time. But, the word “be” at the end of the sentence emphatically denotes permanence. So profoundly that it is as if the gavel has sounded, declaring the authority of Christ in the midst of the statement, that He shall forever my portion be. Even when it feels as if the hoards of hell have launched their assault against me, Jesus is sufficient — He’s all I need.

The other uniqueness found in the structure of this sentence is the verb shall be. Although the verb is split, it denotes an ongoing action, a perpetual state of being. I love the fact that the words “my portion” are sandwiched in the center of the verb declaring the perpetual gift of Himself being made available to me at all times.

So where did these words come from? They’re not Scripture. Yet, they were penned by a man who lived a life secluded from the world so he could turn his entire focus on his devotion to Christ. As a well-known religious teacher and leader of his time, Gerhardt Tersteegen penned the words which were part of one of the hymns for which he was recognized:

Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside,
The fairest of the fair is he.

Sweet is the vision of thy face,
And kindness o’er thy lips is shed;
Lovely art Thou, and full of grace,
And glory beams around they head.

Thy sufferings I embrace with Thee,
Thy poverty and shameful cross;
The pleasures of the world I flee,
And deem its treasures only dross.

Be daily nearer to my heart,
And ever let me feel Thee near;
Then willingly with all I’d part,
Nor count it worthy of a tear.
(by Gerhard Tersteegen, 1697-1769)

These words are powerful and, yet, somewhat disturbing as I consider Tersteegen’s life story. Malnutrition, privation, a pilgrim by all rights. His attempt to identify with the sufferings of Christ led him to choose a very hard life. Yet, in that state of self-denial, he was a powerful leader as he discipled others in their walk with Jesus Christ.

So, there you have a glimpse into my meditations this evening. Jesus shall my portion be. I want no other. I seek no other. I find satisfaction in no other.

“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;
therefore will I hope in him.”
(Lamentations 3:24)

___
(c) 2014 Jan Ross
All Rights Reserved

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