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|Posted on March 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM|
The Bible readings for March 4 are Numbers 29 & 30 and Mark 9:30 – 50. Once again, God instructs Moses with what He required of the people of Israel when they celebrated their various festivals and special days. It is all very repetitive, but God wants it done this way. I sense God wants to see what sort of attitude the people have towards Him as they bring their offerings and make their sacrifices. The outward expression of service should be reflected in the inward attitude of the heart, and vice versa. There is a valuable lesson here for all of us who attend church Sunday by Sunday. Why do we do what we do? What is my heart attitude to attending church? If we go to church out of a sense of tradition, then we run the risk of simply doing something for the sake of it. Our worship becomes empty and meaningless, rather than a time of soaking in God’s presence. In chapter 30, God talks to Moses regarding the laws about vows. Moses reminded the people that they must keep the promises they made – to God and to one another. In ancient times, people rarely signed written contracts; a person’s word was binding. Keeping a promise signifies the sincerity and faithfulness of a life devoted to pleasing God. It also builds trust, which is an important foundation for committed human relationships. Without the trust that comes from a promise kept, community structures would (and do) become unstable. How do people see you and me? Would our families and friends say we are a person of our word? Are we trustworthy in any situation? I am sure it is easy to say ‘yes’ to these questions, but scratch the surface a bit harder and see if this is truly the case, or perhaps our standards have slipped and not only do we let down our families and friends, but also God, our Heavenly Father. In Mark, Jesus again predicts His death. Of course, He does more than this – He also predicts His resurrection. The death of Jesus would not finish Him off – He would be raised from the dead, and if you are no longer dead, then it makes sense that you must be alive! Praise God we know that Jesus is alive. Travelling to Capernaum, the disciples are having a discussion amongst themselves. Perhaps Jesus was walking on ahead, enjoying a bit of solitude, but still completely aware of what the twelve were talking about. It seems it was more than a discussion – it was an argument about who which of them was the greatest. These twelve men wanted to arrange a pecking order among them. If you have one extreme as the greatest, then at the other end of the spectrum you have to have the least – and no one ever wants to be picked last. Think back to your primary school days, when the captains of the sports team would pick their teams from the class – it was never good to be the last person standing, because if you were not chosen, you simply joined the team more as an afterthought than a serious decision. When Jesus asked them what they were discussing, they remained silent. Knowing everything that was said, Jesus addresses the situation by making a statement that turns being a worldly leader on its head. “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” The privilege of being first suddenly seems to lose its allure from a worldly perspective. However, from Jesus’ perspective, being a servant is the only way to be. He then puts a little child among them. Lovingly, He takes the child in His arms, and says to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes My Father who sent Me.” If you climb to the top, in your haste you may hurt people along the way. Keep it simple. Look out for the needs of others ahead of your own. If your action is going to hurt someone, then stop and choose another way. As Christians, we must live in the world but we are not to participate in the evils of the world. I believe this is the point Jesus is making here. Don’t get caught up in the way of the world, simply follow God and walk in His ways. John is alarmed a man was using the name of Jesus to cast out demons, and not being a member of their group, they told him to stop. Jesus denounces this attitude, for anyone who performs miracles in Jesus’ name will struggle to speak evil of Jesus. I love these words of Jesus. “Anyone who is not against us is for us.” Now this may surprise you, but it also means Christians of different denominations to our own. Jesus goes on to give some warnings of the consequences of sin, and leading people into sin. How careful we have to be as Christians that we remain faithful to the One who has called us to become His children. As Christians, we need to remain salty and live in peace with each other. Unsalty salt is of no value – so please, Jesus, keep us salty every day.
Categories: Read Your Bible In A Year