Almost everything we think and do is wrong, and we know it. And we still do it. Within this conundrum lies our misery.
I’m writing, of course, from personal experience, and from reading the Bible and identifying entirely with the guys who later get the smackdown. Example, Simon Peter (isn’t he always…).
I’m talking specifically about the later part of Mark 8. Jesus begins to teach them that He is going to suffer, be rejected, and killed….only to rise again in three days. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with the members of his little band. Like us, they don’t go in much for suffering, much less death. Give us the miracles, give us the crowds, give us the fishes and the loaves. Don’t give us the suffering talk. It’s counterproductive and the masses disperse when you talk that way….
So Simon Peter, being well schooled in the leadership books, understanding branding and how to maintain moral of your shareholders, takes Jesus aside to ‘have a little talk with Jesus’, although Peter presumes to switch roles for a minute. He began to rebuke Jesus. We don’t have the exact transcript of Peter’s rebuke but we can assume it was about Jesus’ reckless words that might lead people to believe He was planning to fail. This was not how one ran a successful campaign, or even a revolution. This was self sacrifice, not self promotion…yet self sacrifice was exactly what Jesus was talking about.
We still struggle with this. Of course, by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, but placing it in the euphemistic ‘we’ makes it easier to talk about. Besides, I think it probably is ‘we’ more often than not.
In the following verses, Jesus spoke words as mysterious now as they were then. “If anyone would come after me, he would deny himself…whoever wants to save his life will lose it…what good is it for a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul…”.
He might as well be speaking jibberish to our spirit. Our concept and value of self has been shaped far more by Successories posters than the words of Jesus. “Come and die…” has been usurped by “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
We have so fully bought into the false idea that if I promote myself, I will promote my message that we can read the words of Jesus and mentally agree even as we plan our assault on the big time, convincing ourselves that it’s all for Jesus anyway.
Still, His words echo.
Losing one’s life.
None of these fit well with brand enhancement or even ‘ministry’ building, so long as ministry is a noun rather than a verb.
I’m pondering what it might mean if I fully embraced this idea of self sacrifice. It’s counter-intuitive. It’s counter-culture. It’s counter-me.
Which might be my big clue that it’s the way of life.
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