Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Different Train of Thought...

"...whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man." -- Matthew 20:26-28

As Mandy and I read through this passage this morning, I was struck by a number of things regarding these words of Christ. Firstly, this is such a strange way of viewing the world. The idea that in order to be first, you must be last, or that in order to be the greatest, you must be a slave, is so opposite of the picture we usually see. The beauty of American capitalism is that each person can pull themselves up out of the pit, but usually this involves pushing someone else in as we climb out. We are trained from a young age to "get ours, while the gettin's good," to only worry about #1. But the message of Jesus is one of servanthood. Scripture actually teaches that the best possible life will come through service to others, not from looking out for ourselves.

The passage has an even deeper meaning to it than that though. The phrase "Son of Man" was a phrase that was used to talk about Caesar, the Emperor of Rome. We can all picture the lavish lifestyle of the Caesar, one filled will hundreds of servants, waiting on him hand and foot. So Jesus' message becomes one of opposition to this kind of lifestyle. It's a political message. It's a message that would eventually get him killed. Jesus is saying that the true Son of Man would not be like that, but would be a servant to all. The true Son of Man would put others before himself. The true Son of Man would get serious about saving the world he claims to be a in charge of.

Some get 'up at arms' when the church gets too political. Maybe if the true Body of Christ, the people of God, would get a little more political, we could change the world. Now I'm not only talking about elections and government. Being political means having a desire to change entire systems of oppression that don't exist for God and the good of humanity. What can you do, as a follower of Christ, to change the world? How can you make an impact?

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

And It Seems Like Common Sense...

As I write this entry I am in the midst of preparing a sermon about being "In the world, but not of the world." This topic has been brewing in my mind now for a number of weeks and I have gradually written down a number of 'terribly insightful' thoughts which will surely turn heads and change lives:).

I am not sure if it is irony, though, or simple stupidity, that in the midst of attempting to think through what God would want me to say about this subject, I had failed to actually read through what God had to say for himself through his word. In trying to be God's messenger in this world, I had failed to look at the message. I don't think it was coincidence that Jesus spoke quite candidly about the very thing I was attempting to say. And I hadn't even looked at his words.

We have a huge tendency to do this in our own lives all the time. We desire to know and hear God's voice, but we never take time to listen to what he is trying to say. We desire deep insight regarding our purpose on this earth, but fail to read his memoirs about how to live the best possible life. Let's quit this elementary behavior. If we desire a deep relationship with our Savior, then let's act like it really is important to us. After all, it's only common sense.