Sunday, August 2, 2009

We Can All Do It

What is your it?
If you ask an evangelist, it will be reaching the lost.
If you ask a mother, it will be loving her child(ren).
If you ask an entrepreneur, it will be the next great business plan.
If you ask an adventurer, it will be the next thrill ride.
If you ask a musician, it will some form of worship through music.
If you ask …, it will be whatever is important to them.

In our world of high profile leadership models that will often try to conform us to their image, it is easy to lose sight of our own uniqueness. We can end up chasing after whatever or whoever is the most inspirational in our life at that moment. In the end, we end up being nothing more than a wave being tossed about in the sea.

One of the most zealous and inspirational leaders in the early days of Christianity was the Apostle Paul. His passion was unique even amongst those who had personally known Yeshua. Paul was able to throw off his years of prejudice and reach out to the gentile world. Paul was the one that rebuked Peter for compromising grace by living a double standard of legalism and freedom. He had no problem with being cold and hungry as he sought out the next person for the kingdom. Stonings, floggings and imprisonment were simply a small part of the cost of knowing Yeshua.

However, he also had no problem zealously seeking out Christians prior to his conversion and having them put in jail or even stoned to death. What we sometimes miss about his life is that Paul simply stayed true to who he was. He knew what his “it” was.

Did he need to learn something beyond his "it"? Was Paul always loving and nurturing to those who were not like him? Not at first. It is difficult, knowing the character of Paul, picturing him writing the greatest love passage of all time, 1 Corinthians 13.

One of the great personal fights that came between 2 great friends, Paul and Barnabas, was over their young protégé, Mark’s homesickness. For Paul it was like Mark had abandoned the faith and betrayed him personally. (see Acts 15) Whereas, Barnabas (son of encouragement), recognized that his mentoring of Paul was no longer needed and left Paul in order to nurture young Mark.

Imagine the disaster that would have happened to the core message of the gospel (love) if both Paul and Barnabas had abandoned Mark for the cause. We might not have the gospel of Mark today.

Paul would likely have never had Mark in his life ever again, whereas near the end of his time he was able to say, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:11

It is possible to let our personal passions push out the people that God has brought into our lives. Our ideologies can erode the most important message of the cross, love. At the end of the day we need to know that Yeshua is desiring to work with each one of us individually and personally. When Peter was told all that would happen to him from the resurrected Yeshua himself, his very next question was what about John?

“When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"

Each one of us needs to hear Yeshua’s rebuke to Peter.

Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."
John 21:21,22

Our calling is to follow Yeshua, not like someone else does, not like the group might demand of us, but personally, as a friend does.

We can all do it, be who God wants us to be. We simply need to remind ourselves our “it” is for us alone, our love is for those that God places in our path.

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