Dan Starcevich

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Humility Precedes Discipleship

But at these words he was saddened, and went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Mark 10:22

Humility Precedes Discipleship

Success as a follower of Jesus demands different attitudes and skills than success in the world.  Consider the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22.  This guy had it all.  He had youth, wealth, and even outward goodness going for him.  When He claimed to have been perfect as far as the Mosaic Law was concerned, Jesus never contradicted Him.  In fact Jesus felt love for this young, wealthy, pious man.  I mean, who wouldn't love a guy like this?  

Yet, the success He enjoyed had a steep price.  Rather than thanking God for all that He had, His blessings had led to pride.  If we are honest we must admit how easy it is to start thinking that all we are and have is from our hard work, sacrifice, effort, and skill. That attitude, when allowed to take root, become an obstacle to discipleship.

Humility must precede discipleship.  Just as this young man would not forfeit all He had gained to follow Jesus so those who insist on hanging on to their pride also forfeit following Jesus. 

Pride can come disguised as many things.  For the young man Jesus spoke to, pride was cloaked in a multitude of possessions.  For those of us who have been part of a church pride can come covered by the shroud of a pattern of religious observance.  We can get so committed to a certain way of doing things and so content with the results  that we refuse to try something new.  The result for us, as it was with this young man, is that Jesus moves on without us.

I think God I am surrounded by people who want to set aside pride and everything else that hinders us to follow Jesus.  I pray that you too share fellowship with others who want to humble themselves and follow Him.

When You Just Don't Know

And they asked Him, "Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?"

Mark 9:11

When Things Seem Confusing, Turn to Jesus

As I read and reflect my way through the Gospel of Mark it seems to me as if the disciples are always out on the very edges of the limits of their understanding.  Jesus pushes, prods, challenges, questions them all the time.  I get the sense that they are just barely hanging on.  Yet they hang on. 

In this particular case Jesus has just pulled back the curtain for a moment so Peter, James, and John can see Him in His glory.  They also see Elijah and Moses along with Jesus.  Lastly a majestic voice speaks and affirms Jesus as God's bearer of revelation. Then, suddenly, the curtain is back in place and this mesmerizing scene is over.

This experience seems to throw them into confusion.  Their heads are spinning.  They are processing what they just witnessed,  wondering what all this talk about raising from the dead is about.  Then their minds jump to Elijah.  In their confusion they turn to Jesus.  

Peter, James, and John teach us that learning more about Jesus can produce confusion before  clarity.  As we read and reflect on God's word the Spirit pushes, prods, challenges, and questions us.  The words of the Bible nag at us.  We are barely hanging on sometimes.

It is at this point that we need to turn to Jesus.  Wisdom, insight, understanding are all His to give.  Sometimes He will give by leading you into deeper study.  In fact most of the time wisdom, insight, and understanding come when you spend time in the Bible yourself.  Other times He gives through the pastors and teachers He has given to the church as gifts.  Still other times He gives by leading you into situations were you need to apply what He is teaching you. 

My prayer for you, myself, and all who come to our church is that Jesus keeps pushing us to the edge.  May He push and prod us to greater and greater understanding, and a life more dependent on Him.

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