Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets from long ago has come back to life.” ”But what about you?” he asked. Who do you say I am?” God’s Messiah.” And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up the cross daily and follow me, For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” What good is for someone to gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit their very self?” –Luke 9:18-25
These verses show Jesus asking his disciples who the crowds think he is. Then, in wanting a better answer, he asks his disciples who they think he is. He then says that he, the Messiah, will experience great suffering as will the disciples who follow him. “Take up the cross and follow me” knowing of the great suffering to come.
We live in a culture of selfishness, looking at life through a lens of self. We even acknowledge selfishness when we witness it by saying things like: “Who died and made you queen (king)?”; “The world doesn’t revolve around you.”; “Get over yourself.” Each of you who reads this meditation has endless stories of selfishness. But the takeaway for me about this scripture is selflessness, our true commitment where our life lens is focused in service to him, no matter what the cost.
To help you focus your thoughts on selflessness, I’ll share with you a story that happened to my neighbor recently. She locked her keys and her cell phone in her car while at the grocery store. Two young boys riding bikes stopped when they saw how frustrated she was. She did not know them, but they rode three miles to her house and retrieved a spare key she had hidden outside and returned within the hour. They would not take money for their good deed. They told her that they were Boy Scouts and that they made a pledge to “help other people at all times”. Selflessness is out there. We have to make choices that reflect Christ-like actions. We have to pay it forward when we are recipients of selflessness. And we have to share these stories with others to find balance in the selfishness of the world.
Dear Lord, help me daily to remember to be selfless, to focus my life in service to you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
DEUTERONOMY 30:15-20; PSALM 1