Husband, father, son, brother, pastor, friend, and a colleague are just a few of the roles I serve in life right now. We all have various roles in life that we serve. Sometimes the roles are given to us, sometimes they are the roles we are born with, and sometimes we choose the role. Being a child of God is a role that we are all born with, but being a Christian is a role we choose. Being a child of God means God loves us. Being a Christian means we have acknowledged God’s love for us and choose to reciprocate that love to God and others. Recently, I have been pondering a question. What happens when the other roles we serve in life get in the way or interfere with our role as a Christian, to love God and others?
In Mark 10:17-31, a rich young man approaches Jesus to ask him what must he do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responds by saying he should know and follow the commandments. To which the young ruler says, “I have kept all of these since I was a boy.” Jesus then looked at him and said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This command upsets the young man because he could not fathom giving up all his possessions, but it also disturbs the disciples that witness the same thing. Why were the disciples upset? Didn’t they choose to follow Jesus? Didn’t they choose this role?
Peter’s response to Jesus is the same response I’d have if I was there. Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” Jesus’ response to Peter is to say, “Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Jesus has asked the disciples to abandon their former roles, careers and families, not to lose them but to gain them eternally.
When we become a follower of Jesus our engagement with our former roles change. You may have heard of the “Golden Rule”. This rule is found in the Old Testament. It states we are to treat/love others how we wished to be loved. Jesus changes the rule! We no longer follow the “Golden Rule” but the “Platinum Rule”. This rule states we are to love each other as Christ loved us (John 15:12). How did Christ love us? Christ gave up himself for us! That is what he asked the young rich man to do, to give up his riches for others. That is what he asked the disciples to do, to give up their livelihood for the sake of others. That is what we are called to do. We are to live in a way where we put the sake of others before our own.
This Sunday, May 12th, we will be continuing the Resurrection People series with a discussion on “Role”. Join us at 10:30 AM for worship and 9:30 AM for Sunday School as we continue this conversation.
In God’s grip,
Pastor Chuck Church