On May 24, 1935, nine year old George Weyerhaeuser, was kidnapped while walking home from school in Tacoma, Washington. George was the son of J.P. Weyerhaeuser who started the Weyerhaeuser lumber company. George was abducted by Harmon Waley and William Dainard. These two men had met in the Idaho State Penitentiary and had devised a plan to kidnap the son of a wealthy businessperson, George Weyerhaeuser. The two men blindfolded little George and drove him to several different locations. In the meantime, Harmon and William wrote a ransom note with a list of demands including $200,000 in various small denominations in exchange for the boy’s life. The back of the envelope was signed by little George. On May 30, 1935, J.P. Weyerhaeuser delivered the ransom money to a designated location. On June 1, 1935, after verifying all the ransom money had been delivered, Harmon and William released George alive and unharmed. (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/the-weyerhaeuser-kidnapping)
In my last devotional, A Higher Calling, I concluded that as Christians we are called to serve. A theme throughout the New Testament is being like Christ. Paul wrote in Philipians 2:5 that we should have the same attitude as Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2:16 Paul also writes that we have the mind of Christ. Therefore, we as Christians (or Christ followers) are to strive daily to be more like Christ and strive to exhibit the same attitude and qualities of Christ Jesus. Some of these qualities can be found in Galatians. Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NEV)
So how do we prepare ourselves to serve? I think this question can be answered in Mark 10:45 when Jesus said He did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. First, let’s focus on the first part of Mark 10:45. Jesus simply states that He came to Earth to be a servant. Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see who Jesus served. He served the needy, the poor, the diseased, the criminals, the outcasts, the despised, the demon possessed, the sick, the lame, the tax collectors and the list can go on. Essentially, Jesus served those who were seen to the world as unworthy or undeserving of compassion and love. So if we are to be like Christ, being a servant goes beyond just serving one another. Being a servant means going out of our comfort zones and helping those who we may not want to help. Helping those who seem undeserving of grace and mercy. Being a servant means preparing our hearts to embrace everyone by sharing and showing the love of Jesus through our words and actions. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
The second part of Mark 10:45 says that Jesus also came to give His life as a ransom for many. As I have already discussed, the Bible says that we are to be like Christ. So how are we to be like Christ in the second part of Mark 10:45? I think the key lies in the word ransom. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a ransom as “a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ransom). I started this devotional with the kidnapping story of George Weyerhaeuser. Little George was kidnapped and his captors demanded a ransom for the release of George. The “consideration” that was demanded was $200,000. George’s father paid the ransom and George was released alive and unharmed. Paul writes in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…” In essence, we have been kidnapped and captured by sin and our captor (sin) demands a ransom. This ransom is a life for a life or death. In these terms John 3:16 can be paraphrased as, God loved each of us so much, that He paid our ransom with the life of His one and only Son, Jesus. Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross to pay our ransom!
How do we prepare to serve? The Bible says we are to be like Christ (Philipians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 2:16). Jesus said in Mark 10:45 that He came as a servant and to pay the ransom of many with His life. So as Christians we are to serve everyone and by serving we are to sacrifice our lives, time, gifts, talents, skills, finances, everything giving all glory to God (1 Peter 4:11). Preparing to serve means preparing our hearts to follow in Christ’s footsteps. Now, will this be an easy journey? Of course not. I wish I could write here today and tell you that by serving Christ your life will be easy. Jesus said in John 15:20 that as Christ followers we will be persecuted. Even Jesus prayed to God the Father in Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…” But the end of Jesus’s prayer is the key “… Yet not as I will, but as you will.” When we serve and sacrifice ourselves, we need to do it in accordance with the will of our Heavenly Father, giving all the glory and honor to God. We need to remember that when the tough times come, “Consider it all joy, brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3 NASB) and “Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him” (James 1:12 NEV).
All from the NIV
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Philipians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
Matthew 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”