Devotional Thought of the day:
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT)
“Let us learn to obey, let us learn to serve. There is no better leadership than wanting to give yourself freely, to be useful to others. When we feel pride swell up within us, making us think we are supermen, the time has come to say “no.” Our only triumph will be the triumph of humility. In this way we will identify ourselves with Christ on the cross—not unwillingly or restlessly or sullenly, but joyfully. For the joy which comes from forgetting ourselves is the best proof of love.” (1)
“Every heart needs to be set free from posessions that hold it so tight, ‘Cause freedom’s not found in the things that we own, It’s the power to do what is right! Jesus, our only posession, giving becomes our delight! We can’t imagine the freedom we find from the things we leave behind” (2)
If you look at facebook any given day, you will find a lot of dissatisfaction. People aren’t satisfied with government, with their jobs, with their family situations (spouses, children, in-laws) , with religious leaders, with those who serve them at the store or the restaurant, and yes we are dissatisfied with ourselves.
We live in an age of discontent, and we struggle to find that with which we are content, we chase after it, and the harder we chase, the more it speeds up – and we begin to lose ground even more, and peace and contentment becomes simply part of a dream we lose hope in ever finding.
Instead of aggressively pursuing life, instead of seeing it as a contest to win, let’s take a breath, and see if our strategy is sound. (Breath in, breath out slowly…. repeat 10 times….)
I meant it – 9 more to go….
Now go back up to the top and read the Bible quote – and the quotes from St. Josemaria and Michael Card, and see the answer to our inability to be satisfied, and to find contentment.
It is not in finding ourselves – or improving our position, or finding the perfect spouse, job or community.
It’s found in Christ-likeness – in giving up yourself for others, in serving (remember ministry is the word for serving in the Bible) in loving those who are around you. Especially in loving those who others do not – whether it is because they are overlooked – or they are considered adversaries. For that is what Christ has done for us. That is how He loves us – by serving us, by being there to clean up that which we’ve messed up, The incredible way He has taken us into Himself, into His love.
Obeying Christ isn’t a matter of law – a matter of obey or perish, it is a matter of the gospel, of our salvation, of being blessed. Of finding freedom from all of that which breeds discontentment. Of leaving the things that oppress us behind. It is a matter of our baptism – of finding ourselves cleansed and made hole. It’s not an option either, anymore than breathing is an option – it is how we are to live – it is how we do live. For anything else – is simply not living… it is existing in bondage to something – fear, anxieity, guilt, desire, covetousness – they all oppress us, they all steal life.
Our answer is to let God show us His love, and being humbled, to take up our cross, to be last, to serve those around us, and in doing so, without even trying, we find contentment, peace, and in loving, we find His deep love…
Lord, Have Mercy on Us
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 811-815). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
(2) Card, Michael “Things we leave behind” From the album Poiema