Sunday, July 12, 2009

What does it mean to be "moving forward" in life?

That question came up this morning. I claimed that God is working to transform us into something beautiful, as I've written elsewhere. When we cooperate with him toward that goal, I said, that's when we're really moving forward. There are a lot of people who put all their energy into climbing the ladder of success, but realize afterward that it was leaning against the wrong building.

Our friend, who had posed the question, had talked about the usual practice of "focusing all my time and energy on getting what I want" (i.e., in order to move forward) -- but was now spending a lot of time serving others instead.

I said that this service was like what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:5, "We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants." (CEV). This brings to mind the tme Jesus was teaching his disciples about humility, and wrapped it up by saying, "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 10:45)

Serving others -- being kind and generous with them, even if we don't like each other, is a great thing. As Jesus himself said, "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (Matthew 5:46, NIV) Here's the whole paragraph (verses 43-48) in Peterson's The Message.

I love how realistic the Bible is -- it doesn't assume or command that we like everybody (or that they like us).

And I love it when Jesus helps people see that they're climbing the wrong ladder. And when they have the courage to do something about it.

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