Fight for what you want. It’s a dog eat dog world. Do anything and everything to succeed. Only the strong survive. Kill or be killed. Second place is second best. Get what’s yours. Play to win. It’s survival of the fittest; so get in shape and kick it in high gear.
The movie, “Rat Race”, though a comedy, successfully portrays our society in a lot of of ways. Today it seems that everyone is trying to build a name for themselves. Overall, our environment breeds competition, egotistical living, and promotes an ongoing battle for fame and success. Humans are self preserving by nature. In our “do or die” atmospheres, it’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon.
I’ve recently found myself re-evaluating my life. How do my dreams and goals differ from the worlds? What sets me apart? Ultimately, at the end of the day, who am I living for? Who gets the credit?
By default, it’s easy to fall into the worlds pattern of pride, competition, and greed. So, the question is, how do we live for God in a world that’s completely wrong for someone who’s trying to live entirely right? Mary, Jesus’ mother had it right. I know it’s a little early for Christmas-ie verses, but just bear with me:
“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 31,37
In the days of Mary, an unwed woman who became pregnant would be put to death. Punishable by stoning; this was procedure. For crying out loud, this was social suicide! Surely, she was aware of this. So, what was her gain? Mary wasn’t guaranteed anything. She didn’t know the outcome. And she didn’t ask to see the fine print before accepting. She didn’t negotiate; “The law requires that I be killed. So, what am I getting out of this?” Without even seeing the benefits or perks, Mary counted the cost and accepted. She simply answered yes. Mary knew that God was literally at work within her, and that alone was enough. Mary wasn’t self seeking or self promoting. Despite her instincts screaming “you shall surely die”, she pushed past the voices of common sense. This was her destiny. Even if it meant self-sacrifice. Nothing else in her life would ever make so much sense.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” -Luke 1:38
How many times does God ask us to do something that makes absolutely no sense. He always seems to challenge the very laws of nature, order, and common sense. While God isn’t going to ask any of us to birth and raise His One and Only Son- He does request and require other things of us. It might be as simple as talking to someone about their day at the bank, or smiling at a rude stranger. Sometimes, He’ll challenge our comfort zones and force us to trust Him outside the confines of our average little box.
When Mary accepted, she didn’t know about the tremendous opportunity she would have. She only knew that God was asking her to serve him. And she willingly obeyed. Today, Mary is known as one of the greatest women in the Bible. Admiration for Mary is so great that some go as far as worshiping and praying to her. I bet she never saw that one coming.
You can spend all your energy. Use each breath. And devote every resource. But when you close your eyes for the last time. What was it worth? Was it all for nothing?
Apart from God, ultimately, you won’t amount up anything more than a pile of bones. So, don’t wait to see the bottom line before offering your life to Him. Offer yourself willingly, even when the outcome seems disastrous. Many times, He’ll request something of us that makes absolutely no sense in the natural. Something so daring that it leaves no room for us to get the credit. Some folks will laugh at you. Yes, others might even call you crazy. But He isn’t confined to our circumstances, laws of nature, or ethical solutions. He just asks us to trust Him.
Those who offer their lives, will be granted their destiny. Accepting Gods plan-along with the risks, can turn a simple and ordinary woman into one of the greatest women in history. Not because of who she was, or what she could do, but because of Who she was willing to carry.
So, call me crazy.
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” -Matthew 16:24-26 (The Message)