Tuesday, October 4
Matthew 10:32-11:1 MSG
“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?
“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”
When Jesus finished placing this charge before his twelve disciples, he went on to teach and preach in their villages.
Jesus strikes a blow at the self-assertive attitude in the very beginning. He says that this “self” must be renounced. In Mark 9:43, he says, “It is better to enter into life maimed,” and in verse 47: “It is better for thee to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye.” Here “life” and “the kingdom of God” are used synonymously. This first beatitude could then read, “Deathless and happy are the renounced in spirit for theirs is life.” They have found life—found it by letting it go. This is another way of putting that verse which, to me, is the center of Christ’s teaching: “He that saveth his life shall lose it and he that loseth his life shall find it.”
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount.