Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The word ‘logic’ is best explained as the normal process of thinking, in other words, thinking like everybody does, -- thinking inside the box. This process has birthed the concept of logical thinking. We make some strange comparative assumptions which under normal circumstances would not make sense, but which do following the pattern of thinking. For example, if A has the same properties as C which in turn has similar qualities as E, then A and E have something in common. Therefore they are similar.

Well, Jesus said a number of things that on the surface or at first sight would strike you as illogical thinking but which on second thoughts are true. Divine wisdom is matchless, worlds of difference from the way people think. If anything it is illogical, therefore unlike the way people think. It is out of the box and still making a lot of sense. What do we call it then? Nothing but divine wisdom!

The first will be last

On a number of instances, Jesus made statements contrary to logic and it made a lot more sense. Our Lord Jesus declared: “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) Logic would expect those who want to take a leadership position to come up front. In fact, He said this when He overheard His disciples fighting for leadership positions. He had just announced His imminent departure from this earth – to return to where He had come from and the squabbles had begun.

Servant leadership

He cautioned them:  “... whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)

From His viewpoint, service automatically is the criterion for leadership. The world is in a mess because our leaders today do not see themselves as servants but as lords. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.” (Matthew 20:25)

Love unconditionally

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35) The world system thrives on lending for profit. God’s kingdom promotes the very opposite. Our Lord Jesus preached and taught that goodness and kindness are virtues which when practised are being done to Him. In an illustrative parable, He stated that when He returns to earth in His glory, He will separate the sheep from the goats; the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. The reason He continued will be “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” When did we do this, the sheep would enquire? The response came as “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)

Give and it shall be given to you

The poor get poorer

“For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have in   abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Matthew 25:29) “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.” (Luke 19:26) While that may sound unsympathetic and uncompassionate on the part of our Lord and Master, this concept is explained in the parable of the talents. God has given each of us talents that we should use to fend for ourselves. The king in the parable entrusted sums of money to three of his servants “according to their ability.” He gave one, three and five talents of money and asked each to work with them until His return. The first two servants went to work and doubled their talents. But the third made excuses and when the king returned, he handed him back his one talent.  

The truth will always prevail

“For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out in the open.” (Mark 4:22) Wicked deeds done over a decade and a half ago are just coming to light. What the perpetrators thought were buried and done with have surfaced to startle the nation – it is just a matter of time. Every one of us will have to render account of his or her deeds whether good or bad. 

Uncleanness from within

“Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ ” (Mark 7:15) The disciples could not understand this logic. The Lord rebuked them for being so dull. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” Then He explains further: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ “ (Mark 7:18-23) 

Total surrender

“If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34b-35) Serving God sincerely calls for total commitment, you are sold-out for God. No half-hearted measures, no cowering. No one foot in, one foot out. In fact, our Lord declares that any lukewarm person will be spat out. “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold---I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)  (More anon) 

Self-sacrifice pays

“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33)

Humility exalts

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14b)