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Our place in line


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#1 landonmark

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:38 AM

"But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Mark 10:31

Let us be sure today, Christian, that we are in the proper place in line.

While many a mouth can recite this verse with ease, very few hearts understand its meaning. For the pride and prejudices that we fail to submit to the cleansing blood of the Lamb will surely cause us to demand our rights- and thus our "rightful place"- and blind us to the truths contained in this teaching.

Jesus tells us just a few verses later that "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve" (v.45). Where do you think our Lord and Savior might be found in the line? So often we will bathe ourselves in the light and the love of Christ, then fail to honor Him by ignoring "the least of these" (read Matthew 25:31-46) in the course of our daily lives.

Our desire for preeminence is a product of the most damning of the curse of sin within us- that of pride. Yet the heart of the true servant of the Lord contains no such desire, and thus seeks no earthly reward or position. For such a heart understands not only its place here on earth, but also the reward that awaits it in glory!

Sola Jesu!

#2 Jay Turner

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 08:44 AM

God has placed a calling on each of our lives, some to be preachers and teachers and missionaries, while others to be computer programmers and actors and train engineers. Many times, our passions, desires, talents and hobbies can help us to see and understand that calling. And whatever that calling might be, we need be the best that we can be for the glory of God. As we develop our skills and step into the place of our calling, we need always remember to use our gifts and talents to lift others up and to help set people free from their bondage.

Being a servant doesn't mean that we are to give up on our hopes and our dreams, instead it means that we should pursue those dreams with greater fervor. We are to let God be the one to direct us and show us how to step into those dreams, so that as we are lifted up, we can bring others with us as we go.

#3 Travis Richey

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:08 PM

I have learned through many teachings about "rights and expectations" that one of the keys of this verse is just that: Becoming a Christian gives me no rights or expectations in this world. I have expectations and hope in the Kingdom to come, but as a Christian, I should not hold to any worldly expectations, nor expect that my status provides me with any "rights" in this world.

Yes, we are given gifts of the Spirit, and called by God to our place in the Kingdom. But we should approach that calling with a servant's spirit. If I am a teacher, then am I one because God has called me to be, or am I one because I am drawn to the power and prestige of that position? Do I enjoy the praise of men? Or am I doing it as if working for the Lord, and only for His Glory? The Lord knows the motives of my heart, though I may be able to hide them from men.

Position and power are great temptations to us. I find it difficult to keep myself in check, and not become prideful or boastful. My prayer is that God keeps me humble in all that I do, and it is amazing how He will answer that prayer...though usually in painful ways from time to time.

#4 Robert Sanford

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 06:58 AM

Great thread, I'd like to add a thought. As an American, I am very aware of certain rights. So I need the reminder that we are to follow Christ's example. After all, he set aside His "right" and became flesh; and we know the rest of the Story. If I have anything to learn it's obviously too continually to die to self.

I own with Travis the need to believe in our dreams and to dream BIG. So how do I reconcile this with scriptures principles on meek, humbly, lowly, servant, etc.? How does one take on the character of Christ without becoming timid or passive? Is there no place for ambition, self-respect or self-worth? I think the truth is found by realizing we are free to be servants not slaves.

#5 Dan Morrow

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 11:57 AM

"How does one take on the character of Christ without becoming timid or passive?"

Was Christ in any way timid or passive?

I think not. Consider the social standing of his parents, his economic status, his political status, his educational status, his geographic location... Lay his enviro-social background against yours. There are very, very, very, very, few who can claim a more challenged starting point..

I would argue that Christ was FAR FROM TIMID OR PASSIVE. His public discourses were monstrously confrontive, and cut to the bone. On several occasions he got physical, enduring fasting, sleepless nights, hiking large bodies of water at night, turning tables at the temple. This was the guy who carried his cross AFTER being beaten without mercy. Christ was crazy aggressive and in the face of everyone who came near him with the biggest, nastiest, hardest issues of life. You could get close to the guy without loving or hating him.

Next we come to the topic of rights... Christ set the bar for managing "rights"...

Precisely, what "right" did Jesus (the man) have to do any of the things he did? He didn't choose to exercise his "right" to de-create those who mocked him, or even to alter the brain chemistry of those who plotted against him. He choose to exercise the "rights" common to all of us, the rights given to us by God, culture and community. The right to love God with all our heart, mind and soul. The right to love our neighbor. The right to speak the truth in love. The right to condemn that which God has condemned. The right to forgive that which God as forgiven, and the right to live out the call that God as put on our lives.

My take is that his pattern is to go as far as we give him the right to go with us. If we ask, then He has the right to answer, and he does. If we give him the right to Lordship, then he accepts. He seems very willing to occupy what we give him the right to occupy, and very willing to not engage where we do not give him the right to engage.

If you're so inclined, I would recommend re-visiting the stories of the heroes of faith. Note the positions they held, the jobs they worked, the power, positions and title held. Very, very, few were anything close to being a professional pastor. Most were business men. Some born well capitalized, some born in poverty. All came to understand they live in the flow of His will. To understand that our job is to live and love, and if God so chooses to blesses us with power, influence or wealth, which we steward those gifts as one who clearly understands that they come from his hand. Christ like? Certainly. We were formed in God’s image. The secret to being Christ like is in His Lordship, not our behavioral responses.

#6 Greg Kensson

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 06:34 AM

Once again, Dan, I love your perspective on Jesus and on the heroes of the faith and their lay professions.

If you read this and you are a pastor, I hope that when you step into your pulpit, you will survey your congregation and ask what manner of men and women sit before you.
--Is there a cottage-industry manufacturer, who might be the next Apostle Paul or William Carey?
--Is there a prosperous merchant who might be the next Waldo?
--Is there a professor who might be the next Wycliffe or Luther?
--Is there a wealthy landlord who might be the next Nicholas von Zinzendorf, or a serial entrepreneur who might be the next Abraham Duerninger?
--Is there a medical assistant who might be the next Hudson Taylor?
--Is there an engineer who might be the next Ralph Winter?

Each of these laymen changed Christianity at its cutting edge. The next one might come from your pews. Please train him or her well and encourage his or her initiative and leadership.

#7 HmoobKuv

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 12:48 PM

"But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Mark 10:31

Let us be sure today, Christian, that we are in the proper place in line.

While many a mouth can recite this verse with ease, very few hearts understand its meaning. For the pride and prejudices that we fail to submit to the cleansing blood of the Lamb will surely cause us to demand our rights- and thus our "rightful place"- and blind us to the truths contained in this teaching.

Jesus tells us just a few verses later that "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve" (v.45). Where do you think our Lord and Savior might be found in the line? So often we will bathe ourselves in the light and the love of Christ, then fail to honor Him by ignoring "the least of these" (read Matthew 25:31-46) in the course of our daily lives.

Our desire for preeminence is a product of the most damning of the curse of sin within us- that of pride. Yet the heart of the true servant of the Lord contains no such desire, and thus seeks no earthly reward or position. For such a heart understands not only its place here on earth, but also the reward that awaits it in glory!

Sola Jesu!



Well I wish in America we didn't teach pride as a virtue. I hope all churches emphasize that pride is a sin and that we look to our "rightful place"; instead of where we want to be which is as always, at the top.

This discussion so far has got me thinking about something I heard a few years ago. Everyone wants to be like Jesus but the only thing is Jesus never repented, He never gave up His position at the top, He was blantantly a "I am God" and you can't do anything about it guy. He never regularly confessed His sin either. Steps to be like Jesus needs to be carefully walked. I hope pride gets addressed more frequently in my church. Too much "yes you can" preaching encourages pride indirectly. More "yes Jesus can" preaching is needed.

Great post for a Friday.

#8 Ruthie Hankins

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 09:32 AM

I found the following in a rather odd place, but it struck me in a new way and does apply to the topic at hand. It is a quote from Christmas is Good! Trixie's Guide to a Happy Holiday and gives advice for enjoying Christmas from a Golden Retriever's point of view! So here goes:

When store is sold out of hot item, scream at cleak, snarl at customer who got last one in stock, stomp feet and shriek. Then remember - when no room at the inn, Mary and Joseph went to manger without complaint. Now you feel mean, selfish, stupid. Learning humility is first step to understanding true meaning of Christmas.


I'd never really thought about that aspect of the Christmas story before. Hope it speaks to you as well.

Blessings!

#9 RuthAnn Nicholls

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 03:59 PM

I found the following in a rather odd place, but it struck me in a new way and does apply to the topic at hand. It is a quote from Christmas is Good! Trixie's Guide to a Happy Holiday and gives advice for enjoying Christmas from a Golden Retriever's point of view! So here goes:

When store is sold out of hot item, scream at cleak, snarl at customer who got last one in stock, stomp feet and shriek. Then remember - when no room at the inn, Mary and Joseph went to manger without complaint. Now you feel mean, selfish, stupid. Learning humility is first step to understanding true meaning of Christmas.


I'd never really thought about that aspect of the Christmas story before. Hope it speaks to you as well.

Blessings!

I like your post, Ruthie.

Seems there is a fine line between stepping out in faith in what you see as the Lord's will for your life and pride?
How to know the difference?

I want to live my life so that every morning
when I wake up Satan says, "Oh, no! She's awake!