Archive for March, 2013

In Mark 10.32-45 we find a conversation that occurs between the disciples and Jesus. It begins with Jesus telling His disciples that He is going to be beaten, mocked, humiliated, murdered and that He will rise from the dead three days later.

As someone that is closely connected with several men that I consider to be mentors I cannot imagine having one of them tell me this. I would like to think that if one of mentors told me they were about to be tortured and murdered that I would try to do everything in my power to get more details and to stop such an atrocity. Yet in Mark 10 we find a different response.

Two of the men with Jesus respond in a manner that is downright puzzling. They do not cry out in horror but rather they start jockeying for a position in God’s kingdom. The first comments that are made after Jesus’ announcement is men asking to receive a place of honor in heaven. Teacher do whatever we ask…Make us influential in the kingdom…

Seriously! Can you imagine giving that self-centered response? While we might like to say we would not respond that way, we often do. Consider some of the messages we know Christ has given us. He told us to share His message of hope with the world. Yet we don’t as much as we should. Why? We are focused on us. We don’t want others to reject us. We don’t want others to look at us funny. We don’t want people to think we are Bible thumpers. Essentially we are proclaiming with our actions that our preservation is much more important than Christ’s expectation of us. We also declare with our actions that we are more important than the eternal destination of the those we do not share our faith with.

REASON #1 WE DON’T HEAR CHRIST BECAUSE WE ARE TOO FOCUSED ON OURSELVES.

Something else happens later in the passage. We find that the other ten disciples overhear the request that was made of Jesus. Scripture tells us that these guys got ticked off. They started a gripe fest right then and there. It does not tell us that they were upset about Jesus telling them He would die but that they were mad at James and John.

These men also missed Jesus message. Why? They were too busy be offended at other followers of Christ. Their focus was not on the message of Christ but rather on the failings of His followers.

At the moment the church I pastor is a target of God’s blessing. In the past three months we have seen people saved, had people join the church, have a group of people that desire to be baptized, have more people lining up to join the church and have seen a tremendous spike in attendance. Yet at some point this week, there is almost guaranteed to be some sort of phone call or email directed to me or the chairmen of our board declaring an offense. The person offended is bound to miss the fact that God is blessing our church because they are so upset that somebody did not live up to their standards. I do not mean to sound harsh but unfortunately that is a reality of church life.

Please don’t fail to rejoice over God’s blessing and faithfulness because you are so fixated on someone else’s shortcomings. If I am honest there are days when this is a struggle.

REASON #2 WE DON’T HEAR CHRIST BECAUSE WE ARE TOO FOCUSED ON OTHERS.

So how do we fix our focus problem? I believe if we are all honest we have to admit that all of us are a bit too hung up on ourselves and others. At the same time we are not focused enough on Christ. Christ gives the solution at the end of this chapter. He says that if you wish to fix your focus SERVE! It is hard to be hung up on me when I am seeking to bless someone else. It is hard to be hung up on others shortcomings when I am trying to bless them. It is hard to be hung up on me when I am seeking to bless the heart of God.

“Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant…”

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