September 9, 2014
(Jesus said) "Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
People can be selfish.
As proof, our devotion offers up the story of a 10-year-old Chinese boy who liked to watch cartoons, and he liked to watch those cartoons undisturbed.
I know these things happened because, recently, a man who was doing handiwork on the outside of the boy's apartment-home made some noise. In the boy's estimation, the man made too much noise. In retaliation the boy did what any precocious child would do: he took a knife and began to saw away on the man's safety line.
The worker called for the boy to stop, but the boy kept on cutting. It took but a few seconds for the worker's safety line to go limp, a few seconds before the fellow found himself clinging to a single, remaining rope more than 100 feet above the ground.
Understandably the worker started screaming for help. That help came when, after 40 minutes, firefighters arrived and hauled the scared and stranded worker to safety. Yes, the worker was safe, which leaves me free to tell you what happened to the selfish boy.
First, the boy's father made him promise not to cut any more lifelines. Then he had the boy offer a "sincere apology" to the worker. To help make up for the man's "inconvenience," the father gave the worker a new safety rope. The story ended with the father wondering if he should get his son in for some "anger management therapy."
Now I'm pleased to think that you and I would not be so selfish as to cut someone's lifeline for disturbing us when we are watching a favorite television program. No, we wouldn't do that, would we?
On the other hand, all of us are sinners and, if we are being honest, we must confess all of us have managed to commit some sinfully selfish acts. It's true. All of us have had those special moments when we put ourselves before everybody else.
All of us, that is, except for Jesus.
Jesus was different.
In the passage above, the Savior says He had been born into this world to be a Servant. From His first breath in Bethlehem's stable to that moment when He gave up the ghost on Calvary's cross, Jesus was motivated by a divine love for others.
In other words, Jesus considered your eternal welfare to be of greater importance than His temporal needs and desires. Winning your forgiveness and salvation was what motivated His daily life and took Him to the cross where He gave His life as a ransom for many.
And now, in response to the Savior's love, believers are given the opportunity to throw others a lifeline, rather than cutting it.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I have often been selfish. Although I may not cut the lifelines of others, forgive me for those times when I didn't do my best to help them to the safety of the Savior. May I do differently in the future. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries