Wednesday Word 3.06.2018
Mark 8:31-38 New International Version
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
These words from our Savior are not easy to hear. Lose your life in order to save it? Denying ourselves is not a super popular pastime in our culture. We complain all the time about the “entitled.” People who not only think that the world owes them, they conduct every aspect of their day as though the universe should be solely dedicated to their needs and desires. I would hope that attitudes such as this are in no way reflected in your household. I know I am quick to reassure myself they are not, but is that really being honest?
I use traffic as an example so often because I work in Eastgate and live north of Batavia. On occasion, I travel I-275 during rush hours. These routes require repeated exercises in patience and mercy. I routinely tut-tut the selfish individual who roars up the pike, darting in and out of the lanes, putting everyone in peril. I relish the delicious comeuppance when he is stuck at the next signal right next to me with all his maneuvering gone for naught. I must confess, my blood boils when we are in a long stagnant line and some fellow races past us to the point of impasse and then tries to squeeze his way into the line. “Not on your life, Dude,” I rail! Such grossly unfair behavior! When I stop to think about it, condemning these individuals reveals some of my most un-Christlike moments.
Getting all agitated over the rude behavior of others is a waste of energy. It is my blood pressure that spikes when someone acts as thought they were entitled, not theirs. They must learn the error of their ways on their own dime. I have lessons of my own to be learned. One of which is regarding self. Does it really matter if that guy gets a few milliseconds ahead of me? If I have to wait one minute longer in line? Just how important do I think I am?
In dozens of scenarios everyday, we have the choice of how we will respond. These are mundane examples of a much more significant practice. I am convinced that our job is to practice responding to the world as a follower of Christ until it becomes our very nature. If I am actually going to lose my over-inflated sense of self and take on the way of life consistent with the model Christ gave us, my work is cut out for me! Taking up the cross is the act of obedience: to bend our free will to the will of God; to learn to meet the everyday scenes of life with kindness and compassion; to see others from God’s perspective not our own; to exercise grace and mercy, not just take it. How much more peace would we have in our hearts? How much more would we be playing our part in the Kingdom of God?…something to pray about.
Your sister in Christ, Vicki