Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life Extraordinaire | Manna for your Soul

We all have jobs to do. Some like working for a steady salary at the end of the month, others like the possibility of making their own fortune and then there is a third set of people who love neither. 

One of the most endearing quotes I remember growing up was something my dad told me - 'Never ever shirk from work. Make hay while the sun shines, because a day will come when you won't have the strength to earn nor the will to starve'. 

In his 40 plus years as a researcher, he never took a day off. 

The Bible is replete with instances of apathetic, dodgy and freeloading scumbags that we are all familiar with. When we see someone with a congenital disease or illness, we are quick to dismiss him/her as reaping the wages of sin. Yet, we rarely see how afflicted we ourselves are. 


Today, I'd like to draw your attention to one particular story that has always caught my attention. 

In John 9: 6-7, we see Jesus had just finished telling his disciples, and anyone who'd hung about him that as long as He is here on earth, He is the Light of the World. 
Perhaps He said this just as a prelude to what He was going to do next. 
Jesus spits on the mud, makes a clay patch out of the spittle and places it on the eyes of a man who was born blind. 
He then asks the blind man to go to the pool of Siloam, wash his eyes and return. 
Easy peasy!

I can almost picture this scene. People around Jesus would have wondered why he had to make a clay when He could simply place His hands on the blind man and his sight would have been restored. Surely, Jesus did far greater miracles until then.


I can imagine how the people may have groaned at the fact that Jesus spat on the ground and made a clay and placed the spittle loaded clay on someone's eyes. 
I can also imagine how the people would have wondered why Jesus is asking a blind man to walk a certain distance to do something he could have done right there. Surely, the man would have had a pitcher of water close to him.

But through all of this, many theologians forget to honor the blind man's faith. 

This man has been blind all his life, and probably has been hearing a lot about the Man who can do miracles. So when Jesus was finally within earshot, he must be been visibly elated and waiting for 'the touch' that can cure him. Probably give him his eyesight in an instant. 
So I can only imagine how disappointed he would have been when Jesus asked him to go wash the clay off his eyes to see again. Nevertheless and unlike many other people in the Bible, the blind man did what he was asked to do. He never questioned, he never mocked Jesus nor asked for any proof of concept. 
He simply obeyed!

Much earlier, in John 2: 7-10, Jesus asked the servants of the house to fill 6 jars of 30 gallons each with water. The servants might have wondered why they were being asked to do something they already know they should do. This was part of their job description after all. Yet they still decided to obey Him. What followed is hailed as His first great miracle. There is also another reason why Jesus chose to start His ministry here - Throughout the Bible, water is symbolic of life. And He wants us to know that just as the very touch of Jesus converted water to the finest wine in the wedding at Cana, only He can turn  an ordinary life into a life extraordinaire. 


Everytime I faced a problem at work, I've taken inspiration from the Colossians 3:23

We are allergic to work. We have an inherent need to oppose the mundane and chase the elusive. We drag our feet when we are asked to do something normal. Maybe that's why our problems exist. We expect extraordinary solutions to ordinary problems. 

Obey wholeheartedly. Be patient to His purpose in your life, and He will fill it up to the brim. Even though you won't understand how you deserved it.

The glory is His. The privilege of being a part of His life is ours.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not so tough now, are you?

Part 3
A five part series dissecting the last moments of Jesus and its relevance on our lives

A phrase that has been immortalized in Hollywood movies, how many times have we thought  we were strong enough to not stray away from the path of God, but have failed. Miserably.
Very similar to how Peter denied Christ.
The most famous denial in Christianity is something that has fascinated me every time I've read about the last few hours of Christ and his Passion.
As a child, I've wondered how someone could say something and not stick by it. I've wondered how Peter could deny our Lord so easily and to complete strangers at the speed at which he did.
But of course, Sunday School teachers won't ever tell us why he did deny Jesus or what Peter really went through post his denial. Most people that I've spoken to could not really explain why.
But the answer is there in our midst.
When Peter proclaimed his undying love for Christ and his wish to follow Christ unto death, Christ's response to him is quite different from how we would respond to, if someone said the same to us.
Very long ago, a girlfriend told me that she would never leave me and declared her undying devotion and unabated love until death does us apart. Great! I thought. But her 'unabated and devotion' to me lasted only for 2 years when she found another person to shower her 'undying love' to.
If only I knew then what I know now, I would have told her to measure her words and to use it only if she meant it truly. 
But of course we all mean what we say when we say it. Specially when we are in love. And I am not even talking about romantic love. It would be our love for our parents, our teachers, colleagues, friends or even movie actors. But just as the seasons change, our love fades and our words are just as easily dead.

Christ's words might have cut Peter like not before, but I dont think he would have thought much of His rebuttal. Peter continued about his motions of following Jesus, unaware that he was witnessing Creation's most incredible event. Like a deer caught between the headlights, Peter was 'caught' by various people, who where not even important or threatening, but caught at a point where he was witnessing a huge travesty of justice, he simply caved in. 
Jesus, looks at him. Not with disgust, hatred or anger. But with a look that has compassion.
Like a bad case of deja vu, his deep despair and anguish of having let his Lord down, is something that we have all experienced, most surely more than once.
As a stronger believer in Christ, I can now identify myself with Peter. I have disowned him many times, only to realise how foolish I am. I have resisted walking in His path even when I promised not to stray.

Having promised our utter obedience to our Lord Christ, how many times have we faltered and 'given in' to a temptation?
How many times have you thought you were strong enough to beat a habit, but caved in at the first instance?
How many times have you felt invincible but fallen to the gutters of sin?
Peter, however, went on to become one of Christianity's greatest disciple, preaching, practicing and living a life like his Master even to his death.

What is important is not how much you've denied Him in the past, but how much you are ready to let go of yourself for Him right now. 

I've realised that being 'born again' mustn't just be a tag that sets you apart but an experience where you realise that you will fall. How you pick yourself up, dust off and walk with a clearer picture is what will save you.

Part 2 here
Part 1 here


Saturday, April 23, 2011

for my sins.. He got the Kiss

Part 1 
A five part series dissecting the last moments of Jesus and its relevance on our lives

Today, as the planet mourns the passion and death of Jesus, do we really understand what He went through?
Watching the Mel Gibson movie 'Passion of the Christ', I am moved and painfully reminded about the kind of trauma and death that He went through.

Christians around the world declare their undying love and confess that Jesus died for them. Their sins.
But do we really know what those sins were?
Are we really confessing our undying allegiance to Him or are we just as cocky as Peter was, until he denies Jesus three times before the cock crows?
Are we pagans who pay lip service?

Dissecting His passion, Jesus knew that he was sent for the sole purpose of dying for the sins of all humanity. His destiny to be the sacrificial lamp was defined right at the dawn of the humanity, when man fell into sin.
Born of the virgin Mary, He became Flesh of our flesh, Heart of our hearts.
A King born to the lowest strata of the Jewish society, His childhood and life on earth shows him how he was the model son to his earthly parents. Parents who nurtured Him. Never arrogant that He was God, He loved His mom and adored his earthly father just as much as He did His heavenly Father. How many of us can boast of being as humble as He was, fully God and fully human.

The movie revolves around the final hours of Christ Jesus.
It shows us the trauma that He went through, completely aware that He has to be persecuted, tried and crucified, He is pained. He wishes that this does not happen to Him, but obedient even to death, He wants His Father's will to happen. Betrayed by a kiss, to die a death that He wanted to save all of us from.
How many of us would let down his/her own life so that someone else would be saved? How many would do this willingly? Not many, I presume.

There are a dozen plots in this beautifully made movie, devoid of any of the corny dialogues and drama that most contemporary blockbusters are known by, this movie gets beneath the skin of its viewer every time they watch it. Some are moved to watch it again and again, and some are too wimped up to see the gory details of how He suffered for our sins.

Starting with his final moments of earthly freedom at the garden of Gethsemane, He sheds tears of blood traumatized by the enormity of his task ahead. Satan, the quintessential smooth talker tries to talk Him out of His purpose, but Jesus rises to quell all temptation and any thought of backing down. Looking through the six odd minutes at the garden, we see how staunch His resolve is. It looks just too easy to our eyes that have seen a million corny movies where the protagonist is shown to have the resolve to defeat all of earth.
But are we really strong enough to squish smooth talking satan in our lives?

Every Sunday, Christians confess, profess and sing their allegiance to Christ. They partake in the Holy Communion and after the service, they gather to gossip about what they did the past 6 days. Not that I discourage socializing but is gossiping, fellowship? On the way back, they curse at the next motorist who cuts them off. Throughout the service their minds wander, making a mental note of what they will need to do after mass and/or looking at that fashionably dressed 'uncle/aunty'. All in a vain attempt to please God by being physically present, we think that our mere presence will please Him.

Pastors encourage this by not correcting the wayward congregation, for fear that they may withdraw their membership and thereby a steady source of income. Theft is common in some churches. So much so that a church that I go to, reminds their members to carry their bags, valuables and other mentionables with them to the altar, lest they be stolen when you return 4 minutes later.

We falter when our egos are bruised. I've lost way too many friends who've stopped talking to me since their egos have been bruised.
We fall for the false pretension that our wealth will see us through the dry spells of our life.
Coveting for your neighbor's car, spouse, children, wealth, peace and every possible thing that you can think of. We are suckers to our neighbor's lives.
We are even jealous of those who work hard to earn every penny. We want all the good things in their life without any of the bad things.
We want our bosses to recognize us for every bit of good work we do, but not punish us if we goof up.
We are indignant at the co worker who works hard to get ahead and stay ahead. But we won't go the extra mile to work smartly ourselves.
We expect our co workers to stand in awe of us every time we are at work, but make a goof up and you don't want to be made an example.
We want our children to be the best in everything they do. Because you were not. We even want our children to be like the neighbor's children.
We want our parents to be an ATM, spewing out money with no expectation of accountability.

I could go on.. but the point here is, are we really ready to be obedient to His will and patient to His purpose?
Are you?


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