3/3/11 Numbers 32-33; Mark 10
S: Mark 10:9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:17, 21-25, 29-31 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” ... Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Mark 10:43-45 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
O: There was so much good stuff today, I couldn’t just pick one verse. But what do all these verses have in common? So many themes – fidelity in marriage, accepting children, not putting wealth first, servant leadership.
The common theme is that they are all countercultural! They go against the wisdom of the world.
The world’s wisdom says, if your marriage is difficult, get divorced! God’s way says instead to be committed, work at it and persevere and you’ll be better off in the end.
The world’s wisdom says, children are insignificant until they can prove themselves. God’s way says instead that each person is created in the image of God and even little children have intrinsic worth and God welcomes them into His kingdom. (Some Christians use this as an argument in favour of child baptism.)
The world’s wisdom says, strive to be rich. He who dies with the most toys wins. Even the church is infected with the heresy of the prosperity “gospel”. But Christ’s way says riches actually are a hindrance to godliness. It’s harder for a rich man to be faithful to the Lord – too many temptations and distractions. And certainly, if you make money your god, YHWH is no longer your god. You cannot serve both God and mammon.
Finally, the world’s wisdom says that leaders must dominate and be served, but Christ’s way says that leaders must be the servants of all.
A: I committed to Juliane for better or for worse, richer or poorer, sickness and in health, till death do us part. But it’s not a drudgery. We try to have dates often and nurture the love. But the commitment is there for when it’s not so easy – we can’t just rely on our feelings.
I try to welcome children like Jesus did, but I also know I don’t do it all the time. Father, help me to improve in this.
As I pointed out in yesterday’s note, our middle-classed Chinese-Malaysian aspirations of wealth and academic success for our children is not Biblical, but I know that I am still susceptible to the temptation. (Yes, I would prefer if my children were academically and financially successful as well as being steadfast Christians ジ but of course, God might not have that in His plans for them.)
Power and leadership haven’t been as strong a temptation for me, but if I am ever in the place for it, I know that lording it over people can be a temptation as well.
P: Father, I desire to stay Biblical in all these aspects you call us to be countercultural against the wisdom of the world in. I know I cannot do it without Your strength, so I ask that You strengthen me to follow Your way.