Tag Archives: Gospel of Mark

Just Be. Just Do.

26 May

There were only four of us. We had heard the same verses read aloud several times. Now it was time to listen carefully to what God had to say through those two verses. Since I’m a retired cognitive therapist, the mind words grabbed my attention: listen, consider, think.

“Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance—all who seek the Lord! Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined. Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor, and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation. Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation” (Isaiah 51:1–2 NLT).

I found no new revelations about thinking and renewing my mind, although my mind overflowed with questions regarding ministry, writing, and speaking. Then I realized that’s not the focus. Once again, it’s not about me; it’s not about you. We must listen, consider, about think about our Source. Try inserting your name into the last sentence.

Nancy was only one woman when I called her. But when I blessed her, she became a great ___.

If/when God blesses us, we have potential to be/do great things in His name. Still a bit anxious about the impossibility of becoming “great,” I continued to listen to God’s still small voice within me, I understood Him say:

Just be—in My presence.

Just be—who you are.

Just do—the next thing.

It’s up to God—not the world, not me—to determine greatness. Jesus said if we offer a cup of water in His name we will be rewarded (Matthew 10:42). Our first priority is to love God with all our being (Mk 12:30) and seek His kingdom (Mt 6:33). Our second priority is to love people, including ourselves (Mk 12:31).

So here I am, daily reminding myself that God is always with me, just as He is with you. He cherishes us and has a plan that includes us. I can’t be anyone other than who God created me to be. I just try to go through the next door He opens, and occasionally have the courage to knock on a few doors in case they might also open. When I listen, consider, think about these truths, life seems simpler, more doable.

I need that right now. How about you?

Being Least in a Most World

5 Jul

How big is your pond?

I once had a university friend ask if I’d rather be a big frog in a small pond or a small frog in a big pond. Hmmm. It’s a bit like asking if I’d rather be valedictorian in a class of twenty or ranked twenty in a class of 1000. We all have a tendency to want to be most or best at something—most beautiful, organized, popular, or intelligent; best athlete, CEO, parent, or grandparent. It’s an endless list. The smaller our pond, the greater our chance of becoming the biggest frog.

Our need to feel important isn’t a new thing. Even Christ’s disciples weren’t immune to such attitudes.

[Jesus] asked [the disciples], “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:33–35 NRSV).

Later, ten disciples became angry with James and John who asked to sit on Christ’s right and left hand when He came into His glory (Mark 10:37).

So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:41–45 NRSV).

“But it is not so among you…” Christ followers walk a different path to glory. Glory doesn’t come through intelligence, talent, connections, education, or other contributors to “worldly success.” Jesus says greatness comes through slavery. Slavery has never held much appeal. Who wants to be completely controlled by someone or something?

Actually, I can name several. Paul, James, Peter, and Jude all declared themselves bond-slaves of Christ. I’ve known too many who yielded to alcohol, drugs, food, or sex. We’re all obedient on some level. We submit to laws, company policies, wedding vows, and more.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16 NRSV).

In “My Utmost for His Highest” (March 14), Oswald Chambers says, “remember what lust is: ‘I must have it at once,’ whether it be the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind.”
What must we have at once? That thing controls us.

Lord Jesus, I want to be Your bond-servant. I confess that I often make wrong choices and want to be a big frog. Teach me to be “slave to all.” Amen.

What have you learned about obedience and yielding? What’s hard? What consequences or rewards have you experienced? Please share your insights and experience.