Baby Jesus–Extraordinary Strategist?!
“For unto us a child is born . . . and his name shall be called . . . Extraordinary Strategist!” The Passion Translation replaces “Counselor” with this updated phrase to help us understand Jesus as our knowledgeable, skillful Guide and Teacher. Extraordinary Strategist matches Dallas Willard’s description of Jesus as the “smartest man who ever lived.” This description startles people who think Jesus is nice, even good, but smart? Could he really have been the Master of Molecules (which is how all the miracles happened)? In other words, is Jesus of any practical help to us today?
Dallas’s “extraordinary strategist” ideas from The Divine Conspiracy (pp. 93-96) no doubt leaked into my way of thinking as I wrote the questions for its study guide in 2000. During the extensive Q&As at a conference where I spoke a few years later, an observant young woman on the front row commented: “You answer every question with, ‘Ask Jesus.’” I laughed as I realized she was right. Yes, “Ask Jesus” was my first response. Then I was often walked out the several things Jesus might answer because I respected him as an extraordinary strategist.
I gratefully recommend asking Jesus about just about anything as a routine practice. I’ve requested his advice about many things What is the best way to approach a certain person on a touchy subject? What is my first step in digging out the sprawling agave americana cacti that are taking over my cactus garden? What question do I need to ask my doctor at my annual physical tomorrow? Where might I look next to find my car keys? Other times, I ask more generally, What do I need to know about this situation/person/condition? I believe that Jesus knows these things and can therefore tell us what we need to know; I believe Jesus cares about us as individuals and therefore wants to help us; I believe Jesus delights in partnering with us to bless others and will therefore give me hunches, hints and nudges about how to do that.
Now at this time of year, I’m gazing at the ceramic baby Jesus that my granddaughter has lifted from the crèche and left sleeping on my laptop. I’m reminded that the Extraordinary Strategist has not left us to figure things out on our own. The Trinity is willing to squeeze all of Jesus’ magnificence into a human form in order to come alongside us in a tangible way. Jesus still does this today, which makes me even more willing to “ask Jesus” what I need to know in this present moment.
Grace and peace to all,