April 4, 2013

Thoughts from Mark

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joycomplete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. – Paul to the Philippians

As a father, I totally get what Paul means by what makes his joy complete.  Nothing beats watching your children be of the same mind, loving one another, united and intent on one purpose.  It is inspiring and contagious.

As I read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I wonder what the one purpose is.  If there were one focal point, one aim, one finish line he would want them to cross, what would it be?

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…

Could this be it?  An attitude?  A way of thinking, feeling and living?  A motivation and culture that influences everything else in our lives?

Paul goes on to say that Jesus emptied Himself, became a servant, humbled Himself and obeyed to the point of death.  As a result, God highly exalts Him and gives Him a name above every name.  A name at which every knee will bow.

There is tremendous power in humility.  Emptying ourselves for the sake of others so that our very life becomes the resource for others to live.

To some, it will look like we are dying a senseless death just so someone else can benefit.  We will be called foolish.  We will be told it’s time to look out for ourselves before we lose everything.

And it is in the losing that we find everything.  

We are finishing up an epoch in time.  A generation is arising not set primarily upon success.  Fathers who started their lives seeking fortune are now finishing by laying a foundation for sons for sons to seek significance won by giving their lives for people.  And we will honor them by doing so.

There is a coalescing of heart that the great pursuit in life is the betterment of our brother.

He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?, Declares the Lord. – Jeremiah

Jesus said that there would be many who would do incredible things in His name but would not know Him.  This verse buried within Jeremiah’s prophecies gives a blaring hint as to what it means to know the Lord.

To care for others before ourselves is the royal stamp of Jesus.  When the cause of the afflicted and needy is answered, things are well.

Things are well.

Things are well for the one afflicted.  Things are well for the one who helped.  Things are well for the One whose attitude has been adopted.

Things are well in the earth.

This is a death worth dying.  A life well lived is at the expense of others.  A cross like this is worthy of a resurrection.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. – Jesus

Empty yourself for others and make your Father’s joy complete – the same joy set before Jesus.

In love,