What if Jesus Said, "I don't care"?

For the holiday season, the season of caring, we're taking a break from the Command Performance columns. In this issue, we're examining what drives us, looking beyond the what would Jesus do (WWJD) question. Looking beyond to ask ourselves why would he do that?

The answer? Because he cares.

There are plenty of examples in the Gospels where things would have been very different had Jesus had a different reaction. The healing of Lazarus. The curing of the lepers. Making the blind man to see. Making himself the lamb who would be sacrificed on the cross.

Imagine, if you will, Jesus being told by his Disciples that the multitude who had come to hear him teach was hungry and needed to be fed, and his responding with "I don't care."

That is something that we all, no matter what station we hold or what role we play, whether follower or leader, student or teacher, we all remember that Jesus did what he did because he cared. And so must we.

After all, as the familiar tune goes, "they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love... they will know we are Christians by our love."

What if Paul had said, "I don't care" and written off all those who didn't believe him right away or exactly his way? He would have stopped trying to preach in the temples, given up on the Jews--not hoped for their regrafting into the olive tree of faith, and stopped believing that God's plan was for the redemption of all. He would have stopped being all things to all people so he might by all means save some, perhaps only feeling pity for those who didn't agree with him. If he had believed that he was God's chosen leader and failed to listen to his people, his words would not be in our Bible today. The evangelical ocean he inspired would have been more like a puddle that dried up, with nothing left but cracked earth where once a faith lived.

Even God listens to his people. When he was going to destroy the people he had guided through the desert, Moses petitioned for them, and He spared them.

It's not always easy to care for people, if they look different or smell funny or have ideas that we don't agree with. But, we must. We must be like Jesus and give thanks that, though human, he was not like us.

Sometimes the people for whom we have the highest hopes, our leaders, both political and spiritual, our bosses and managers, show little concern and almost disdain for our concerns and problems. When they don't care, we are hurt.

Scott Adams wrote, in the Christmas piece in his Dilbert Newsletter, this year about the soldiers in Afghanistan now. He pointed out that some would not return, and those who did would be changed. He also pointed out that their reason for being there was that they thought we were worth it. They don't know us. They care about us. Mr. Adams closed, saying we should prove we are worth this caring, and the best way to do this is by caring ourselves.

The last time someone came to you with a problem, did you care? Will you the next time?