16.4 John – Stewards and Lieutenants

I appreciate the question in today’s study about “lose your life”.  I completely get the reference to vs. 25 and I understand and am humbled by the teaching about this principle by Jesus and throughout the epistles.

I think, as sinful man, we, however, distort this whole “die to self” concept.  We take pride in the sacrifices we make.  We carry guilt that we aren’t sacrificing enough.  We almost make a show of it, if not to others in words at least to ourselves in our thoughts.

But I think the heart of this teaching is not to feel bad when God has entrusted us with things.  Jesus had been friends with Mary and Martha and Lazarus for a very long time and not once do we see Mary be in trouble for owning a bottle of perfume worth a year’s wages.   Nor was she burdened every day with trying to figure out who needed this more than she did.

Instead, I think the better translation of this would be to tie it to the principle of being a good steward or, if the title is more comfortable, a lieutenant, of ourselves.  We are to be trained up.  We are to be prayerful.  We are to be listening and taking care of ourselves physically and mentally.  We are to practice and build our talents.  We are to give thanks both for our blessings and our trials.  But, most importantly, we are to recognize that we do all of this not for ourselves, but to be at the ready for the command of our commander.

A lieutenant does not feel guilty for the troops under his authority.  He prepares them and builds them.  He doesn’t shun food or proper clothing or shelter or rest or work for them.  He recognizes the importance of investing in those in his ranks so that they can perform, at a moment’s notice, when the command comes from above to deploy.  He also does not jump ahead of those orders, sending them out so they are not at the ready when the true orders come.

In the same way, I think we are the lieutenant of ourselves, of our bodies, of our thoughts, of our resources and money and relationships and emotions.  But, we serve not for ourselves or our own glory but for that of our commander.  We don’t wear our name on our foreheads, but the name of Jesus Christ. That is giving up this life to a life of service and the promise of that is a better, greater, holier life for all eternity.

My Answers:

8.
The time for Him to come to Jerusalem to die.  The time for Him to take on the sins of the world, die and then rise again

9.
As a human He was human, but through His death He was the first born again.  The warning and promise was that he was going to, very soon, die, and be born again greater.  It was a promise to believers and a warning to the pharisees.

10.
Believing fully in Christ in faith is an “all in” commitment.  We give up ourselves and control over our own life, to the extent that we offer to go where He leads even in harm, pain and possible death of this life, knowing we have eternal life with Him.

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