The Cost Of Commitment
Whatever you trust aside from God is idolatry. Get rid of it.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Well of course I wait for you to answer. Some of you say, “Don’t ask”. One lady said when I ask her that she said, “Yuck”. Well some days are that way aren’t they? You can’t always guarantee that it’s going to be coming up roses, but you can guarantee that He hath said, “I will never”, never that is, “leave thee nor forsake thee”. He’s there. “Yea though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me”, and so your blessed Lord is with you no matter what the circumstances, this very minute and you can trust in Him. Trust Him, trust Him, He’ll see you through.
What you and I are looking at– the 10th chapter of Mark. I stopped just before we got into verse 31. I want to comment on that just for a moment with you, may I? Said, “Many that are first shall be last and the last, first”. The Lord Jesus said that in a couple different places as recorded in the Gospels, so that is an important truth that He wants us to remember.
Now this whole matter of being first is commented upon in Mark 9:35. Jesus sat down, called the twelve and said unto them, “If any man desire to be first”, see by the way it said they disputed among themselves who should be greatest, so He says, “if any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant of all”. Last of all; that word last is related to our English word eschatology, last things. He’s going come last in line. It always bothered me a little when we had while I was serving as president of the college, we had our Saturday night smorgasbord’s during the, during the summer, and the dear, gracious people who work were in charge of the those events would always come to my table, the President’s table right after grace had been said, and usher us up to the smorgasbord first and I winced every time, you don’t like to make a scene about it, but it just bothered me to be the first up, and I knew that it bothered others.
You know how I know? I’ll let you in on a little laugh. We went to a wedding reception one year and it was a beautiful wedding and the reception was held afterwards and they had kind of a sit down smorgasbord thing and so obviously the bride and groom and the bride’s family and the groom’s family went up to the, the buffet table first, and as, as the, as the, as the groom’s mother went by me she leaned over and said with a malicious twinkle in her eye, “Yea, you’ve got to wait this time”. Ah dear, isn’t that something. Well, this whole matter of being first is, is just pure human nature.
My old Deacon, John Houtkamp used to tell me in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, “Es comish, den comish nockon, mal den comes to longen”. First me, then me, after that you, but not for long time. That’s human nature. But Jesus said, you got to get last in line. Let the other people go first. Escatas, last, last things, last people, last one in line, and then He goes on to make it even more demanding, it says, “Servant of all”, now that’s related to our English word deacon. Service of that kind is diakonia. A servant is one who meets a need when it exists, who serves to meet a need where it exists. He’s says, if you want me first, if you want be would appreciate you, if you want real greatness, He says, let other people go first and you meet their needs where you see the need is existing. I have a little saying, sort of a Cookism, “You’re only secure as long as you’re needed and you’re only needed by the people as long as you are helping to meet their needs”. Now, business found that out long ago, they used to talk about sales. When I was a boy they talked about selling. Now they talk about marketing. What’s the difference? Selling says, we got a million widgets, get out there and pedal them, sell them. Marketing says, what do people need? Let’s, let’s manufacture something that will meet their need. You see the difference?
Our Lord Jesus Christ, two millennia ago said, you better specialize if you want to be, if you want to be appreciated, if you want real greatness, you better specialize in meeting people’s needs. Now that works every day in the marketplace, in the office, the shop, the home. Look around you, you’ll always see some things that need doing, you’ll always see some place where you can help. I have friends today who are my friends because I offered to carry some suitcases one day when they arrived at the college, and I saw them struggling all that baggage at the front and I said, “Here let me give you hand”, and I’d, I grabbed a couple suitcases then came back for more, put them inside the front door, they said, “Who are you”? I said, “Oh I’m just the janitor”, and I walked away laughing, they went down the hall and said to Roy McCandless, “We just met your janitor, what a helpful man”.
Look around you, you’ll find there are things in the office. One of the, one of the bugaboos of office and shop work is that people say, “I’m not going to do that, that isn’t my job. It’s not in my job description. I’m not going to help you, that isn’t my job”. I heard that just the other day somebody was, was saying it under his breath while refusing to help somebody else. Well, your job description be hanged. That isn’t what’s important. What is important is that you lend a hand to somebody who’s struggling with an impossible task or an impossible deadline and you give some help even though it’s not in your department. Be willing to pitch in.
My old boss Vic Cory sent me to 10 weeks of, of night classes on what was called human engineering. The one theme that the man pounded away on all through those weeks was this, go cheerfully out of your way to help others without being asked. That was his theme and he worked on it and came at it from so many different angles until we were unable to forget that the key to management is helpfulness, and the key to being appreciated and to, to be considered great, the key to leadership is helpfulness.
You want to think about that for a while and maybe pray about it in connection with your life? I can tell you it will make a difference. “The first”, He said, “will be last and the last, first”. There will be people sitting on the front seat in heaven’s assemblage, that you never thought amounted to anything, but God said, they’re important right? I wanted to comment on that because I think it has value for all of us, it certainly does for me. I have to relearn these lessons, day by day, as I share them with you.
Now, verse 32 of Mark chapter 10 says, “They were in the way going up to Jerusalem and Jesus went before them, and they were amazed, and as they followed they were afraid”. Now, that’s interesting, isn’t it? This is human nature reaction to the things of eternity. What had He been telling them? He’d been telling them that if you, if you trust in money and the things again buy you going to have a hard time getting real with God, that’s what it says, “They were astonished out of measure”. Then He said, “It does cost something to follow Me, but it’ll pay off in this life and in the life to come”. But He says, “The order of importance may be surprising because”, He says, “some people who are first here will be last there”, and vice a versa. Now, it says, “They were amazed.”
Why should it amaze me when Jesus says something that has to do with eternal issues and eternal life. Well simply because I’m not used to thinking in those terms. The, the rich young ruler, get rid of your money because that’s your idol. Idolatry the great issue before us even today. You don’t have any golden calf before which you bow down, but there may be some thing or some person or some relationship which you are putting ahead of God–that’s idolatry. And He says, you’ll have a hard time getting real with God, unless you take out of the way, that which stands in the position of trust in your life. Trust he said, enriches.
Whatever you trust aside from God is idolatry. Get rid of it, said He. And then He said yes, there’s a, “There’s a price to be paid and it may involve putting into second place house or brothers or sisters or father, mother, wife or children or lands, for my sake and the Gospels”, but He says, “there’s a payoff”, and then as I reminded you the other day just before we went off the air, part of God’s blessed payoff is the persecution. The opposition you get because you belong to Jesus, is part of the payoff not part of the penalty. You look at it that way, it said, “They departed from the, from the assemblage rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name”. You’ll find that in the book of Acts.
Part of the payoff, not penalty, payoff, part of the reward of being associated with the Lord Jesus is that they’re going to oppose you because they opposed Him. “Marvel not if the world hate you, for it hated Me before it hated you”, Jesus said. You follow that? Now, with all that, every one of these points is foreign to ordinary human thinking, isn’t it? Every one of these points is foreign to ordinary human thinking, and so it says, “They were amazed”, but it says, “and as they followed they were afraid”. Why? Because when you start to contemplate the cost of serving Jesus it shakes you up. Well, it might. It shakes you up, it says, “They were afraid”.
Now, what do you do about it? Well, perfect love casteth out fear, get down before your Lord and renew your love for Him and you’ll find that you’re not afraid to follow Him. The only time that I have been willing to yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, no matter what the cost, has been the time when I’ve been waiting before God, and He filled my heart with love for Him so that I, I knew there wasn’t any other alternative but to go His way and I was glad to do so. “Perfect love casteth out all fear”. Get down before God and wait on Him until your heart is tender toward God and you’re not going to be afraid to follow Him, Alright?
Now, it says, “As they followed, they were afraid”, two human nature reactions. What did He say to them? He took the twelve, and began to tell them what things would happen to Him. I will run out of time before we can comment on this, but let’s just start for a few seconds. “We’re going up to Jerusalem”, He said, “the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the, the scribes and they shall condemn Him to death and delivered to the Gentiles, and they”, that is the Gentiles, “shall mock Him and scourge Him, spit upon Him and kill Him and the third day He shall rise again”. Now, there’s no record of any response. Completely dead so far as response was concerned, because they had been busy deciding who was going to be the greatest, they had been busy worrying about what the cost was of following Christ.
The cross and the victory of it is always obscured by self-interest. Anytime you get interested in yourself, “What’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to my position? Where will I be in the pecking order”, etc. etc., anytime self-interest enters in, the message of the cross gets obscured.
Dear Father have your way with us today, help us to put Thee first, in Jesus’ name I pray this, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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