Our community group is studying a book by Warren W. Wiersbe called Life Sentences. The book is about discovering the key theme that sums up the lives of 63 Bible characters, by a single Scripture verse.
This concept, in one fashion or another, has been on my mind for years. You see, one of my older sisters kept telling me I should live my life based on how I wanted to be remembered, what I wanted placed on my tombstone.
Well I have to admit when I was in my early 20’s her proposition wasn’t anything I had ever thought about and quite frankly every time she brought it up I did the equivalent of the proverbial 80’s eye-roll. Yet I have to admit her words come back to me often…driving me to want to live higher.
This week in Wiersbe’s book we read about Salome. Just to refresh your memory, she is the wife of Zebedee; the mother of two of Jesus’ closest apostles, James and John. And we learned she is also Jesus’ aunt!
Wiersbe spoke of her not only in harsh words based on Jesus’ rebuke after she boldly prayed and asked Him to allow her two sons to sit on His right and left once His kingdom was realized. But he also spoke of her beautiful attributes, attributes of faithful and sacrificial service to Jesus and His followers, as a prayer warrior and as one who longed for the Kingdom of God to come.
In the end, Wiersbe surmises her life sentence to be one of the most famous verses in the Bible; “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” A verse that is the epitome of Jesus!
This past week Jed spoke of the mantle Jesus wore during His ministry, a mantle that He has passed on to each of us, if we accept it. A mantle that has us holding fast to Jesus, as we understand and trust Him to be our resurrected and ascended Lord, who has called us to carry on His work of proclaiming in His name to all nations repentance and forgiveness of sins which leads to eternal life. What the ESV Study Bible beautifully describes as being ones who “serve as the guardians of the Gospel tradition.”
As we place this mantle upon our shoulders as guardians of Jesus’ Good News, we begin to live into God’s redemptive story of salvation, finding our own work which He has planned in advance for us to do.
Like Salome we at times move out, even after praying, in selfish, self-serving ways. This week our Bishop Todd, encouraged many of us to remember that the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking (fleshly selfish desires), but of righteousness and peace and joy found in the Holy Spirit.
This week we wait, just as Jesus’ disciples were doing over 2000+ years ago. They waited for the promised gift, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit given this Sunday at Pentecost.
Salome couldn’t, the apostles couldn’t, and we can’t either grow into lives lived higher; lives of righteousness, peace and joy without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We must call continuously upon the Holy Spirit asking to live in, and by, and for the Spirit so that He may guide, assist and enlighten us through His miraculous power.
So I leave you with the same thought my sister left me with so many years ago; what do you want to be remembered for? Or put in terms of Wiersbe’s challenge; what life sentence drawn from Scripture would you like to have define you?