Take One

Volume 2000, Number 1

Edition: 6/19/2000

Christian Meditation: Worldly Pursuits

by SCRVPVLVS, revised 6/19/2000

SCRVPVLVS has long been aware of the widening chasm between the teachings of Jesus and contemporary Christian beliefs and behavior. This article is the first in a series, addressed only to Christians, pointing out the gaps and calling for a return to living as Jesus taught.

Christians, why do you waste yourself on career advancement? Pleasure and longevity? Family and possessions? You should detach yourself from all these things, keep God's commands, and devote yourself to prayer, for the kingdom of God is near.

Receive and meditate on the words of Paul to the church of God.

remain as you are; keep God's commands
17 [Each] one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.

remain as you are; do not let your slavery trouble you
20 Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. 21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you--although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

remain as you are; marriage would create many troubles
24 Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to. 25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are. 27 Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

detach yourself from your family, feelings, possessions and all things of the world—it is passing away
29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. 1 Cor 7

Receive and meditate on the words of Jesus according to Mark.

do not seek authority
42 [...] "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." Mark 10
our hearts create thoughts of taking pleasure, possessions and power; these make a man unclean
21 "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'" Mark 7
your family is the church of God
31 Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." 33 "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." Mark 3
give up your possessions to the poor
21 [...] "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Mark 10
work is not the way
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. Mark 1
deny your self; do not wish for longevity; be ready to give up your life for Jesus
34 [...] "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." 35 "[... Whoever] wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." Mark 8
keep God's commands: the Law
17 "[What] must I do to inherit eternal life?" [...] 19 "You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" Mark 10

keep God's commandments: spend all of your self on loving the one God; love your neighbor as yourself
28 [...] "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12

devote yourself to prayer
38 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Mark 14
the world will end before this generation passes away
30 "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." Mark 13

In short, give up your world. Give up your plans, feelings, family and possessions to God. Stand aside, keep God's commands, pray and wait for the incipient kingdom of God.

"9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God." Phil 3

Scripture quoted by permission from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.

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