Friday, March 2
Every night when we say our prayers with our kids it is common to hear “..help us to help others as best we can….” and “…be with those who are less fortunate we are…”
This passage in Mark is perhaps one of the easiest to understand and relate to our own lives. (I think this because I usually find it challenging to interpret the messages of the bible, but this one was not so for me.)
Putting others ahead of ourselves is what I hear when I read this passage. As a child and growing up as a young adult I was consistently having this modeled for me. My paternal grandparents were the epitome of what it means to give of yourself selflessly. They did this as parents, grandparents, neighbors and members of their church in downtown Atlanta. Despite the part of the country they lived in and the time they lived in it, they refused to conform to the normalized attitudes that accepted and often-endorsed racial inequality and hatred. Instead they showed what Jesus meant by loving and accepting one another unconditionally and without restrain.
My father, in kind, also showed us the way in which Jesus said to put others before you by not just teaching his beliefs but also (and more importantly) through is actions with the people in all aspects of his life. From assisting low income minorities in downtown Oakland through his dental practice, to sponsoring a homeless man in Berkeley as a theology student, to running a men’s support group in Pelican Bay penitentiary, he has and still shows us what unconditional love looks and feels like.
Every day when I go to school to teach, I feel truly blessed: to be given a chance to share my gifts and talents to help others and maybe make their lives a little better. I am always mindful of what my role models showed me about Jesus’ message of putting others ahead of ourselves. I am thankful for the opportunity to try and live out Jesus’ teachings.
“To help us to help others as best we can.” As you go through your day, reflect on your gifts and the ways that you put others first.
-Submitted by Tom Lewis
To truly honor a Jesus lifestyle, we’re beckoned to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.” What do you struggle with most in your efforts to deny yourself? For what mission or ministry have you taken up the cross as you follow Jesus?