To Serve and Sacrifice

Jesus pointed his disciples to true greatness.

When James and John asked Jesus if they could be the ones to sit on Jesus’ right and left hand in heaven, Jesus was not offended by their wish. Later on, however, when the other disciples heard about it, they were not so kind.

The Bible calls them “indignant.”

Jesus simply uses this as a “teachable moment” for the disciples. He huddles them up and reminds them of the things he had taught them. They are not to operate the way the world around them operates.

He helps them recall all that he had demonstrated to them. They are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

To serve and sacrifice — that’s why Jesus came.

And that is the way to greatness in God’s kingdom. Service and sacrifice.

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 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 10:43-45, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Sunday, March 1, is Leviticus 5:14 – 7:10, Mark 10:32-52 and Proverbs 6:12-19.

Lord, help me to serve and sacrifice for others, as you first served and sacrificed for me. Thank you for being truly great, because your greatness is my eternal salvation.

Header image based on "Close up eye red - Jesus - Cross" by Gerardofegan, CC By 2.0

Echoes of Grace

I love to hike. And here in Arizona we have a lot of canyons where a person can travel up a stream. There’s just something about water and trees in a desert.

But the other thing I love about canyons is the way the sound moves through them — the sound of birds singing, the rush of the wind, the bubbling of the creek.

And the echo of my voice. I almost always give a couple shouts in the canyon, just to hear what it sounds like for the sound of my own voice to bounce back at me from the canyon walls.

(I know. One of you is surely going to say, “I always knew Jeff loved the sound of his own voice!”)

What got me to thinking about echoes today was this verse: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28, NIV).

As Christians, our call to greatness is a call to serve and sacrifice self, Jesus tells us. And then he goes on to tell us something critically important. Our service is really nothing more than an echo of Jesus’ service toward us.

Jesus gave his life for me, so I will — as I’m energized by his grace and self-sacrifice — become the servant he calls me to be. It’s as if the voice of Jesus bounces of the walls of our hearts to resound into the hearts of others.

Love begets love. Service inspires service. Self-sacrifice arouses self-sacrifice.

Jesus first. Us second, as echoes of his grace.

Lord, may I always echo your gracious “first-love” for me. I desire to serve you and my neighbor. I cannot do this on my own. So, may your heart of love, service and sacrifice simply echo through me to others, and bring all the glory to you!

Our Bible reading for Friday, January 30, is Job 15:1 – 18:21, Matthew 20:20-34 and Psalm 17:13-15.

Header image based on "Verde Canyon Railroad" by sfbaywalk, CC by 2.0