“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” –Matt. 20:28
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.'”
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”
I’ve discovered that it’s not just 5-year olds that come up with such logic. As much as we all may believe that Jesus has set up an example of servanthood, and taught us to follow “in His steps” in putting others first, we often wait for the other guy to be Jesus.
Whether it’s two little boys arguing over breakfast, or two supposed grown-ups, married to one another but posturing to see who gets their way, it’s easy to expect somebody else to be Jesus. We’d rather not have to give up anything, and we’re always afraid that if we don’t take care of ourselves first, who will? It’s the way of the world, you know.
But we’re not of this world. Last Sunday’s message on the discipline of Biblical servanthood may have gotten your attention, as many shared with me afterwards. It was indeed a radical idea that Jesus taught, that greatness comes not through power, but through servanthood. Some might even say it’s downright “other-worldly.”
But if we just hear it, or theorize over it, and don’t put it into practice in the difficult struggles of real-life relationships, then we no more believe it than the world that would think the whole idea absurd.
Here’s the challenge this week for those Christ-followers who seek to live out your faith where you are, be it at home, or at church, or in the marketplace. Yoube Jesus. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Love others unconditionally. Give your life away. Serve them, selflessly. Let them have the first pancake, even. Reflect the character of the one who gave His all for you, as you live a life of grateful obedience to Him.
I’m praying for you, that as you “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7), our Lord will grow in you the grace of humility and dependence on Him. Have a blessed weekend.
There it was, in black and white, right there in the distinguished journal Science, from a team of scientists who have discovered an asteroid seven-tenths of a mile wide that is headed for an apocalyptic collision with Earth. That gigantic, near-spherical boulder, officially named asteroid 1950 DA for the astronomers among us, is hurtling through space on an elliptical orbit around the sun. And it is heading right at us!
The odds of it colliding with Earth are better than any asteroid before, the scientists predict. And a collision with an asteroid of that size would be catastrophic in magnitude. It could, at the very least, wipe out a metropolitan area or devastate a coastline with tsunami-like tidal waves. Or worse, it could throw up such a huge cloud of dust that would dim the sum for years, causing a massive die-off of species.
Oh, by the way, the asteroid is scheduled to smack into our lovely planet on March 16.
Of the year 2880.
So that means we only have 868 years to get ready! Frankly, I’m not terribly concerned, because I don’t expect to be hanging around here when the fireworks start. But if you’re one to worry about those kind of things, you have plenty of time to get really worked up.
The truth is, we’ve never been closer to “the end of the world as we know it.” Whether it’s a report of a fast-approaching asteroid or the prophetic implications of the evening news from the Middle East, it’s not hard to see the handwriting on the wall. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at the Mayan calendar–or a Chick-Fil-A calendar–it’s still easy to do the math. The end may not be near, but it’s near-erthan it’s ever been!
It may be today, or on December 21–or in 838 years–but we know, on the authority of God’s word, no less, that it’s coming soon. Or rather, He’scoming soon! The question is, are you ready for the Lord Jesus to return for His bride, the church? Will you be found “spotless, blameless and at peace with Him” when He returns? (2 Peter 3:14)
I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, that He is indeed preparing the way in your life, and that you are living your life on the edge of eternity to honor Him.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
If you’re familiar at all with Facebook or other social media, you probably already identified the context of the title to today’s column. It is one of the ways in which we describe our relationship “status”: It’s complicated.So, if you choose to play along, you get to check the box that best describes your relational category: “single,” “married,” “in a relationship,” or…”it’s complicated.”
We understand what they’re trying to say–or perhapsnotsay–but I do believe there’s a little redundancy in those options. For those of us who are married, or in a relationship of any kind, we know that they are all verycomplicated.
And no, this is not intended to be a column to talk aboutValentine’s Day, coming up in just four days. (Guys, consider yourself reminded; you can thank me later.) Most of us of the male persuasion realize we are very much out of our league when it comes to all things related to dear St. Valentine.
However, as we have been teaching through our Sunday morning group on marriage recently, I have been reminded more and more how complicated relationships can really be. Though we may not actually be from Mars and Venus, as one author once described it, we still sometimes seem pretty alien in the way we communicate (or don’t), and how we relate to one another (or don’t).
Of course, the difficulties of relating to one another aren’t confined just to relationships between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, or even suitor andsuitee.I was reminded this week in a couple of conversations how complicated many relationships are between parents and their children–even grown children–and between siblings, and friends, and co-workers, and neighbors. And the list goes on and on.
All that said, the good news today is that there is at least one relationship we all can have that is not so very complicated, as much as we sometimes would like to try to make it so. We can relate to God in the simplest of ways, heart to heart, without any question of motives, and always with the knowledge that we are infinitely and unconditionally loved.
Jesus Christ came to give His life to pay the penalty of our sin, and to tear down any wall that sin and man-made religion had built between us and God. He demonstrated God’s infallible love for us, and cleared the way for us to experience an authentic, intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father that isn’t full of confusion, distractions…or complications.
Quite simply, as a recent song reminds us, “He loves us….oh, how He loves us.”
May your life be secure in the uncomplicated, unconditional love of God today, through His Son Jesus, and may you experience the fullness of what that relationship means. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.