Bulletin October 2022
by Bruce Billington
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ’If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” (Mark 9:35).
It has always intrigued me to study the response Jesus made to any questions asked of Him. Although no serious student of the Scriptures would accuse Him of making the response we frequently see from Politicians (evading the question), we do observe that He often did not answer the question directly.
Instead, He tended to come back with a question of His own, or He discerned the true heart of those asking the questions and addressed that. At all times He was going after the root issue behind everyone’s questions or comments, something that is sadly lacking in most interviews we see today.
An article I was reading the other day alerted me to a question He often asked in various forms. It was, “what do you want from Me?” or “what would you have Me do for you?” (Matthew 20:21; Mark 10:36; Luke 18:41-43).
Here is something to meditate on. What would you say if Jesus asked you that question? Our first response is probably to consider our perceived needs. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. Paul encourages us at all times, to let our requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).
But then again, most of us are conscious of Solomon, who aced this question and set a tough precedent for us to follow. His first response was to ask God for wisdom to enable him to better do the job God had called him to. How do you top that off? Solomon got it so right that God blessed him with so many other things as well.
But, knowing that we are called to be Christlike, the author of the article I was reading, put forward another take on this. What if we asked others that same question – “What do you want from me?” By doing this we are putting ourselves in a humble, servant role for those we come into contact with. And of course, so many other Scriptures now come into play – such as,
Matthew 5:40-42 – “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”
These Scriptures are to be applied within the context of the Kingdom of God – meaning they may not always be appropriate. For example, don’t lend your car to someone who is an irresponsible driver; don’t give money to someone who is capable of working and refuses to (2 Thessalonians 3:10), but the point is – how available are we to serve others and make sacrifices for their benefit? How often do we put the needs of others above our own? How often do we surrender the car park we were about to take when someone else approaches it at the same time because we truly regard others us more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3)?
Here is another one – when we move on from a conversation with someone, do we know more about them – or do they now know more about us? How often do we connect so well with others, that we forget to tell them anything about ourselves because we are way more focussed on who they are and how or what they are doing?
I wonder, when Jesus made the statement that says, “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8), if this is what He was referring to? I am certainly convinced that it goes a lot further than just those who go to church regularly or read their Bible occasionally. He may well have been referring to the more common expressions of His love and grace that those in relationship with Him are applying to their everyday life and encounters with others? Maybe this is what is meant by being salt and light to the community?
These are hard questions, for me anyway. They cut through all the religious facades and penetrate our actions which reveal what is truly in our hearts. It is living with the expectation that God can take our seemingly insignificant actions, (like being well mannered and courteous) and use them for huge effect to further the cause of the Kingdom of God.
I am persuaded to believe that this has more to do with why God filled us with His Spirit than we may realise. It is certainly something worth considering.
God bless you.