Whose Gain?

Kay’s glimpse into the obvious: Jesus’ motives were never mixed.  He never did anything for personal gain, only serving others for their gain.

Mark 10:45 NIV  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

As obvious as this seems, a recent application brought into focus how minimal my understanding really was, giving you another opportunity to learn from my mistakes, rather than your own.

As I tried to apply a marketing suggestion made at the recent writers’ conference, something inside was unsettled.  I would be doing something different from the norm for me, but I knew that wasn’t the issue.  Something about it just wasn’t right, or was something about me wrong?

The recommendation was to get involved with organizations that are pertinent to the subject of your book, these being places that would help its sales.  (Potential publishers really like the idea of books selling, for some reason. 🙂 )  During class, I began to think of places that fit this need for me, and included them on one of the many lists I made while there.

Only as I sat still with the Lord, praying about how to get involved with a particular group, did I see the problem.  It was I.  This wasn’t about getting involved because the Lord directed me to, or even because I had a burning desire to help.  I was considering this time-consuming activity only as a means to an end – to make contacts for publishing my as-yet unwritten book.  Yuk!  Yuk!  And, yuk again!  My motive was wrong, no matter how many would have been served.

When the Lord revealed to me the simple and obvious statements shared at the beginning of this post, the discomfort left and the pressure was eliminated – immediately.  Daddy didn’t tell me to do this now.  If He does later, my focus will be to serve for others’ gain – just like Jesus – trusting Him to take care of all my needs.

I think I need to apply this to everything else I do, as well.  Will you join me?

In Jesus’ Own Words

“If I am not doing the works [performing the deeds] of My Father, then do not believe Me [do not adhere to Me and trust Me and rely on Me].  But if I do them, even though you do not believe Me or have faith in Me, [at least] believe the works and have faith in what I do, in order that you may know and understand [clearly] that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father [One with Him].”  John 10:37-38

Jesus spoke these words with the confidence of a man totally yielded to the Holy Spirit of God in and through His life, not with arrogance or self-assurance because He was God.  He did the Father’s works and reflected His nature so others could know the Father and He are One.

At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Jesus spoke in a way designed to cause His accusers to consider not only His motives, but theirs.  Anything He did was to show the Father in Him and through Him.  It was more than just the miracles that upset them.  Was it also His observance of the Sabbaths?  His following of the Law of Moses and the law of the land?  Maybe they were upset by the extended times of prayer He observed – out of their view.  The problem with Jesus doing all these things was not that He was following religion’s requirements, but that change was happening in people with whom He came in contact.  Unfortunately, the religious leaders weren’t interested in being changed themselves, or helping others change for the better, so they failed to examine their hearts to discover what was lacking.

The contents of Jesus’ heart reflected the Father through the works of every area of life.  It was a life of God’s love – inside – that made the difference outside; improving hearts and lives in those who would receive, and increasing rejection and persecution by those who would not.  He truly loved His neighbor, wherever He was and whoever it might be.  He truly loved even his detractors, with the desire to shine forth God’s love for them even when He confronted in boldness and authority.  He required love to govern even His thoughts toward all people – the good and not-so-good – which overflowed in His words and actions.  (Matt. 12:34)

Jesus is my example – not of how God lived on this earth, but how a completely humble Man could live on this earth in total reliance on His heavenly Father’s Spirit to walk in love.  Since that is the case, my aim is to be able to say, with the same humility and boldness, that you can believe the works and have faith in what I do, for I am revealing in all actions and words that I and the Father are One, through Christ.  I want to be there – so dead to myself and so yielded to Holy Spirit that I know, without doubt, I’m doing exactly what He wants in His way and timing and with His amazing heart of love.  Since Jesus prayed that very thing for me, you, and all who will believe and follow Him, I know His Word is at work in me right now to bring this to pass.  His Word never fails!

John 17:21 “That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.”