Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Kingdom is For Those Who Know How to Die

He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
-- Luke 14:12-14

Blessed are the Type-A personalities,
for theirs is the corner office.
Blessed are those who remain unfazed,
for they will be self-confident.
Blessed are the powerful,
for they will inherit the promotion.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for success,
for they will be rewarded.
Blessed are the religious,
for they will be the envy of many.
Blessed are the pushy,
for they will have much to be proud of.
Blessed are the cool,
for they will be called gurus.
Blessed are those who are recognized because of their achievements,
for theirs is the renown among men.

Can we say that those beatitudes aren't the prevailing wisdom today?

This is from a pastor's blog (I kid you not):

It’s the elite, the excellers, the achievers, the succeeders, and those who raise their game to a level of "must" who end up with the money, power, and satisfaction. It will cause you tension, aggravation, and sleepless nights. It will wear you out and push you down the road. But that’s what you were made for.

For what? Money, power, and satisfaction?

This is why the real beatitudes are today the powerful scandal they were in Jesus' day. Because the kingdom is for the hurt, the grieving, the mourning, the poor and poor in spirit, the meek, the downtrodden, the marginalized, the discarded, the weary, the torn, the broken . . .

And why? Why is that?
I believe it is because those people have a keener sense of their own need. When you are on the drug of money or power or success (or any kind of drug), you can be numb to your basic, fundamental deficiency. Why do we keep trying to fill the God-shaped hole with any god but God? Because the other gods are just ways to believe we have no needs, that we have the power inside of us. Any worship directed to anyone or anything other than God is essentially self-worship.

And those who keenly feel and know their own brokenness know self-worship is stupid.

When we will look upon the cross of Christ and see in it not just our security for salvation but the mandate for working out our salvation, we are much closer to beholding the gospel's power to save than if we see the cross as the metaphorical key to some self-improvement project.

This is why the crippled (generally speaking) got it, and the Pharisees (generally speaking) didn't.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
-- Luke 14:11

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
-- Matthew 16:25

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

-- Matthew 5:3-11


Randi Jo :) said...

another great one.

hey I wanted to ask you if you knew anything about different discipleship programs or curriculum that different denominations do (like the wesleyans have this discipleship program called Injoy).... have you ever looked into any of those? or done them?

I guess that's probably not a simple answer though... I know a lot of your thoughts on discipleship/community on past blogs... but I found this injoy and thought it actually was spot on the gospel and great commission.... but wanted to see if u had an experience with it/thoughts on it

Jared said...

Randi, I've never heard of Injoy before.
I don't have much faith in a lot of the curriculum out there. There's some good stuff, but across the board pretty hit or miss.

I've had some good experiences with Serendipity's group Bible study stuff and some bad experiences with them. Ditto Willow Creek resource stuff.

Depends on the study/program, usually.