Tag Archives: disciples

Led to the Truth

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 31, 2011

Led to the Truth

 

                   Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”  And they left their nets and followed him. 

                                                                         Matthew 4:20

 

Secretary of State, William Seward, negotiated with Russian officials. At four in the morning in March of 1867, he hammered out a treaty.  Russia agreed to sell some of their territory for about 2 pennies an acre.

Many critics were furious.  Horace Greeley, the famous journalist of the day, called the agreement “a dark deed done in the night.”  Soon the purchase was popularly dubbed “Seward’s Folly.”

Seward had just negotiated the purchase of over a half million square miles called Alaska.  The timber had no value – there were abundant forests much closer.  There were few profitable resources in fish and fur.  But Seward had the foresight to see the importance of Alaska from a diplomatic standpoint.  Relations between Russia and Great Britain were tense.  Seward bought Alaska, in part,  to ease international relations.

But here is the point: while Seward had good reasons to buy Alaska, he was totally ignorant of the best reasons: the gold and oil.  Today, Alaska has more natural resources than any other state in the Union, but Seward didn’t know that at the time.

 

When Peter and Andrew left their fishing trade to follow Jesus, they had no idea that his purpose was to be tortured to death as the sacrifice for our sins, and then rise from the dead, so we might have eternal life.   They had been following Jesus for quite some time before Jesus ever explained his true mission, and when he did, the disciples were either confused or upset!  Peter was shocked.  “This shall never happen to you, Lord!”

Wait a minute – if the disciples did not understand that Jesus would die and rise for our salvation until after the resurrection, then why did they follow him?

The disciples did not drop their fishing nets and follow a man they had never seen.  People so crowded the shore to hear this man that Jesus had to commandeer Peter’s boat and push off from shore to teach the multitudes.  Before Peter and the other disciples left everything to follow Jesus, they had already seen his compassion for the sick.  They had already witnessed his mercy to sinners.

 

Just as Seward made a sound decision, but ended up getting far more than he could imagine, so the disciples followed Jesus because he was changing their lives, but found out later that he would save their souls.

God doesn’t dump the whole truckload of Truth on us the minute we believe.

Jesus did not immediately reveal the whole truth of the Gospel to his own disciples.  Gradually and patiently, he led them to that truth.  If you feel guilty because you don’t immediately blurt out the plan of salvation when you first meet a new face, maybe your feelings of guilt are not coming from God.   Maybe, like Jesus, we can begin by demonstrating the compassion and mercy of the kingdom life. . . so that they may long for, and find, its source.

                                                                (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarr)

“Quasimodo Complex”

Story of the Day for Monday May 30, 2011

 

“Quasimodo Complex”

 

                  “. . . Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  

             Then Jesus called a little child, stood him in their midst and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  

                                                                             Matthew 18:1-3

 

Have you noticed how children aren’t all that concerned about differences in other children?  They don’t care what race you are, your social or economic status, or whether you have physical imperfections.

Sadly, those years of acceptance don’t last. As we grow older, our attitude toward differences in others turns ugly.  It is not that we now notice differences in others – a three-year-old notices different skin colors, or a limp.  No, we change by assigning value to those differences.  We accept those who are like us, and mock and shun those who are different.

You know the pain that comes from being different, don’t you?

 

So, why do little children blithely ignore differences in race, wealth, or appearance, while those older use differences as a weapon?

Well, think about it: little children feel loved just because they are there.  They have no notion that you earn acceptance. Once you believe you must make yourself worthy of being loved, it means you must grub around for other people to be superior to.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see where this leads.  If you are poor, or a racial minority, or have physical blemishes, you are going to get hurt.

 

Have you heard of the “Quasimodo Complex”?   In the British Journal of Plastic Surgery, two physicians made a disturbing discovery.  They found that 20.2 percent of the adult population had facial deformities (protruding ears, bent noses, acne scars – that sort of thing).  Then they examined 11,000 prison inmates who were doing time for serious crimes.   They found that 60 percent of these criminals had these minor facial deformities!

What do you make of this?  It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the cruelty and rejection necessary to find others “inferior” is profoundly destructive to them.

 

When Jesus’ disciples got into arguments over who was greater (as they often did), Jesus loved to grab the closest little kid to plop in front of his disciples. Jesus used them as visual aids to show his disciples that you don’t need to be superior to anyone else.  God’s care for you cannot be earned.  We must learn to be like a little child, and simply accept God’s love without the slightest notion we are worthy of it.

 

Do you find yourself preoccupied with complaining about other people and their faults?  I’m not saying there aren’t times to criticize, but if you find that it is coupled with a feeling of superiority to them, take it as a warning sign that you probably still feel a need to earn your sense of worth.  Don’t fall into this trap.  You can’t raise yourself up by putting others down.

There’s a better way.  Go to a playground and watch the little kids. Ask yourself what those little beaners had to accomplish before their parents would love them. When you find the answer, you will know how your heavenly Father loves you.

                                        (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)