In a day when Christians and non-Christians alike are adopting an “every man for himself” worldview, how can Jesus’ example inspire us toward sacrificial service?
"I'll go," cried Victor, with a white, set face; "it's better for one to die than all of us. Perhaps God's kept the mast from falling on purpose. Jesus Christ didn't save Himself."
The Crew of the Dolphin, page 82.
We live in a day when Christians and non-Christians alike are adopting an "every man for himself" worldview. As divorce has reached record proportions, couples are now rethinking the permanency of a covenant commitment. Many want a safety release so that they can exit if things turn difficult. Intimacy has been replaced with informality, inevitably leading to the devaluation of what was intended to be sacred. I was reminded of this phenomenon recently after interviewing 20 different parties interested in renting a house. All 20 interested couples were living together outside of wedlock, and in every instance it was the girlfriend who took the lead.
What is the cause of this resistance to commitment? In this day of every man doing what is right in his own eyes, I believe that we can learn a significant, life-changing lesson from our Lord's time on the cross. It is amazing to me that someone's last words or absence of words can shape the rest of our lives.
Three times while Jesus was hanging on the cross He heard the scoffing insult: "SAVE YOURSELF!" And each time Jesus didn't say a word. If He had wanted to, He certainly could have saved himself… for He was God Himself. But He chose not to save Himself so that He could instead save others. What Jesus demonstrated through His silence on the cross was the true essence of God-likeness. As children of God we are not here to save ourselves, but to give our lives on behalf of those whom God has placed in our care.
Have you been given a difficult assignment? Are the conflicts in your relationship influencing you to save yourself? Remember that all service requires sacrifice. You have a choice: save yourself or save others.
Hesba Stretton, 1876
The crew of the Dolphin faces great peril, being swept away in crashing waves and crushing winds. But this is not the fiercest storm they face. The insurmountable surges of greed and deceit are far worse, bringing exposure, disgrace, and ruin. Yet we need not drift or be lost at sea, for God holds the sea in His great strong hand!