Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 24 September 2015

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10, verse 45.

We are happiest when we loser ourselves in a cause.   My dad didn’t give me much advice in life; he wasn’t one to make profound observations on life.   That’s not to say he didn’t say things I remember because he did.   I simply don’t remember him specifically spelling out many things explicitly for me to remember.   Dad was more of the kind to expect my sister and I to learn simply by watching and listening.

Yet one of the things I do remember him saying to me was said when I was a young airman in the Air Force. He told me “Lose yourself in a cause.   You’ll find yourself.”   I remember it for it’s marked difference between his usual observations, and for the fact that it’s spot-on correct.   It’s also something Jesus could have said and, in a way, it’s a derivative of verse 45.

We are hard-wired by Christ to be happiest when we are immersed in serving others.   Serving in the military, serving in church, serving Thanksgiving dinner, serving wherever life takes you:   we as people are happiest when we subordinate ourselves to do things for others.   When we do this, we are living to our fullest potential.

Jesus pointed to the example of His service to the world as the model for our behavior. He lived, taught, died, and would live again as the penultimate lesson on how we should live our lives.   Everything Jesus did was some kind of act of service.   Water into wine in Cana?   Serving the wedding.   Calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee?   Serving the terrified Disciples. Observations on divorce, adultery, anger, and a hundred other topics?   Service to humanity by imparting God’s wisdom.   And dying on the cross?   The ultimate service.

It’s ultimate because it is a ransom for many.   It’s the only ransom that could be paid for our sins.   You or I couldn’t do it; neither could the Pope, Mother Theresa, Joel Osteen, Billy Graham or Donald Trump. Only Jesus could pay the true price for the guilt and punishment that our trillions of sins require.

Yet notice Jesus doesn’t say “ransom for all.”   It’s true:   Jesus’ death and resurrection is the price paid for the redemption of all mankind.   All humankind is given this benefit because of what Christ did, because of God’s grace.   Yet not all of humankind will claim that benefit.   Will those who live this life in disbelief of that miracle benefit from it; will they live eternally with Christ in heaven? It’s a tough answer to hear but you know the answer is “no.”   It’s not me saying that:   it’s Scripture.   I prefer to not play God and judge what He does or does not. It’s enough for me to take Him at His word and believe that, when Jesus says “No one comes to the Father except through Me,” He means it.

And if you want to go to the Father, you must first die to self and live to serve.

Lord, refashion my heart, my thinking, my every action to want to serve You by serving others.

Read Mark 10, verses 46-52.


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