Playing Your Part

This week we finally wrap up our series, Tell Someone. For six weeks we have been talking about how to share our faith with another person. This last part offers a reminder: Although our work is vital, when it comes to the saving of souls, our work is not the only work that is happening. Jesus reminds us in the parable of the sower that there is someone else involved in the process and His work is pretty important too. Rather than worrying about doing the whole thing ourselves, if we will learn to play our part, things will go entirely more smoothly for us. Thanks for reading.

Playing Your Part

Have you ever watched a rowing competition? On occasion during a Summer Olympics event, I’ll manage to tune in just in time to see the rowing event. I don’t necessarily look to be able to watch it, but when it happens to be on, it’s not one of the events I’ll flip past to watch something else. While it’s not exactly one of the more popular sports in the world, rowing is one of those sports that requires both high skill and high strength. It doesn’t seem like it at a glance, but if you want to win big, they are a must. The most successful teams train rigorously until every single part of the team not only knows their part, but executes their part in perfect harmony with the rest of the team members. Every motion is coordinated. Every stroke is timed. One person who is even slightly out of sync with the squad will immediately become a drag on the rest. Oh yeah, and because they row with their backs to their destination, they are all completely dependent on the one person who can see where they are going. It’s almost like there’s a parable in there.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Thessalonians 4:13

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the ideas people like to throw around sometimes today is that dying is easy. Usually the corollary idea paired with that is that living is hard. That kind of notion can be made to sound philosophically sagacious. Someone with a loud pen (or keyboard as is more often the case these days) can fire it off and be guaranteed a near viral load of retweets and reposts. But the truth is that it is just a platitude. It doesn’t add anything really meaningful to a conversation that nearly everyone has at some point in our lives. Should our Lord tarry, death is coming for us all eventually. And while dying may be easy in the sense that it really doesn’t take any effort on our part, death is hard. I’m thinking about this today because a good man I know is facing his own death. These are some thoughts with him in mind.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:45

“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.” (CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Humans are addicted to purpose. We can’t live without it…literally. Right now our culture is in the midst of a crisis. I’m not talking about Covid. We are in the midst of a crisis called “deaths from despair.” It started before Covid, takes nearly as many lives as the pandemic did, but unlike the virus, it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. A death from despair happens when a person ends his life either intentionally or incidentally by taking actions intended to escape a sense of hopelessness, purposelessness, meaninglessness that has taken hold of his heart. Purpose matters. A lot. Well, here Jesus reveals the purpose of His coming. Let’s pay attention to what He has to say.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:41-44

“When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In my household, there is a simple rule that regulates our interactions with our three boys. Perhaps you have a similar, if unwritten and even unspoken, rule in your own household. If one child gets something, the others must be treated in similar fashion. If one child gets a snack before bed, all three need a snack before bed. It wouldn’t matter if the other two had finished eating dinner only moments before. They are suddenly starving and couldn’t possibly be expected to make it to breakfast without one more bite of food. There’s another rule at play as well: If mom and dad put you in charge, you get to act like you’re in charge. Now, we didn’t make up these rules. They came part and parcel with the parenting gig. I suspect they came with your own gig too. The reason for that is simple: These rules are how people naturally think and interact with one another. The disciples put both rules on display here…and Jesus explains (again) that this isn’t how the kingdom of God works. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:35-37

“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, ‘Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.’ ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked them. They answered him, ‘Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever known someone who is truly tone-deaf? Most people have at least some sort of awareness of pitch and harmony and can recognize when they are out of tune with the world around them. But there are some folks who are just clueless. You could play a C for them, ask them to sing it back to you, they’ll sing a strong G, and think they’re right on the money while you shake your head in confusion. Just as much as there are folks out there who are musically tone-deaf, though, there are folks who are socially tone-deaf. These folks manage to not pick up on social cues that would have otherwise clearly indicated to them that whatever it was they were about to do or say wasn’t appropriate to the situation they were in. They charge in like a bull in a china shop, completely oblivious to the impact of their words or actions on the people around them. What we see here is that some of Jesus’ closest followers were afflicted with this condition. We also get a reminder that we sometimes listen to the wrong things too.

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