Mar7WedMarch 7, 2018
We have a variety of mugs, or as I like to call them ‘coffee cups,’ on the top shelf in our kitchen cabinet. Some are generic and some have an imprinted graphic. One of the mugs reads, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a father.” Likely you’ve seen mugs which have similar sayings. The general point is that healthy relationships require a higher level self-giving than ordinary existence. For example, the transition from a dad to a father requires men to set their own pride and agendas aside and spend time with their children. The transition from being merely a spouse to becoming an attentive husband or wife requires the same self-sacrifice. The transition from being merely a person on payroll to being faithful employee or the transition from being a neighbor to being a friend requires the same. Jesus articulates this principle by saying, “Whoever wants to lose their life will find it” (Luke 9:24).
I assume that you already know this. (Now whether we put it into practice is another thing! It is usually very hard to set our agendas aside for the sake of healthy relationships. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit.) However, it can be easy to forget this principle while growing in relationship with the Lord.
Each Sunday, we celebrate the way in which Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. But how do you lay down your life for the sake of the Lord? Does that even enter your mind? It ought to, because according to Romans 12, we were saved by God’s mercy in order to “present our lives as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).” This is worship. This is what it means to live in relationship with God. Luke 9:24, in context, is Jesus’ invitation for his disciples to lay down their lives for Him. When we daily lay our pride and agenda down for Jesus, then we grow in relationship with the living God. But what does this look like?
Monday’s Scripture reading took us into Matthew 26 which contrasts Peter’s relationship with Jesus and Mary’s. Peter was peering into Jesus’ late-night trial at the high priest’s house when he was recognized as one of the disciples. His response was to deny knowing Jesus…three times. Why? Likely, Peter wanted to protect his image and avoid potential persecution.
Yet days earlier, Peter had witnessed Mary, sister of Lazarus, take the role of a poor servant. She had taken a very expensive jar of perfume, perhaps her most valuable possession in the world valued at a year’s wages, and emptied the whole container on Jesus head and feet (Matthew 26:7, John 12:3) in what would perceived as a very self-deprecating and even embarrassing move. She laid down her dignity, reputation and financial security to worship the Lord and grow in relationship with Him.
Now Peter left the courtyard with a severed relationship with Jesus and Mary left Jesus’ side with such a relationship that Jesus declared that her story would be told throughout the whole world (Matthew 26:13)! Which is more appealing to you?
Active relationship with Jesus requires a posture of self-sacrifice every day. This attitude, in turn, affects how we pray, worship, study the Scripture, interact with the world, and live in relationship with one another. As we continue to look towards Easter, how is the Lord asking you to lay down your life for Him? By faith, we trust that those who lose their life for Jesus sake, will find it!