August 26, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Now this is an interesting title for this blog, Aunt Martha’s Big Toe! And what does this have to do with our scripture from Mark 8:34 through 37?
Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it; but whoever
loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a
man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man
give in exchange for his soul?
First of all, before we get to our aunt’s Big Toe!, let’s see what Jesus is saying to His followers. If you saw someone two thousand years ago carrying a cross through the streets of the city, what would you know about that person? You would know he was going out to die – to be crucified. That was the experience of our Lord. He was going out to die on Golgotha’s hill, crucified between two thieves – nailed to the cross He was carrying. Jesus Christ died to purchase our salvation! He paid for our sins with His own perfect life!
Just as Jesus died for us, He calls His followers to take up their own cross and follow Him out – to die! We are not usually called to die physically, especially by crucifixion – although history has shown thousands of martyrs have laid down their lives for the cause of Christ. What the Lord is saying is, we are to die to our self if we would follow Him. We are to put to death our desires, our agenda, our wants in preference for His. As Paul writes in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” How? By sincerely making that prayer our own that Jesus prayed in the garden, recorded in Luke 22:42, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done.” This is not a one-time prayer! As Paul said in I Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.” He put to death moment by moment his own will in deference to Christ’s! And so must we, if we would truly follow Him as our Lord! (See the blog from April 29, The Most Important Prayer A Christian Can Pray).
Alright, so what does this have to do with Aunt Martha’s Big Toe!? In any church service of which I have been a part – and in that service if they ask for “Joys and Concerns” – 90% of the prayer requests are about someone’s physical problems. Sometimes the problem is big, and sometimes small. Sometimes it is something like Aunt Martha’s Big Toe! Consider again what Jesus told His disciples, especially in verses 36 and 37 of our scripture:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own
soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
What is really important? Is it Aunt Martha’s Big Toe! or her eternal soul?!!!
Here is the point of this blog: I am waiting for the day when believers will be more concerned about people headed for hell than for physical ailments! For if Aunt Martha gets her Big Toe healed and goes on to live to be a hundred in good physical health, “…what will it profit….” if she ends up in hell forever?
It is called revival! It is when people are so broken over the eternal state of lost loved ones that they will plead for prayers concerning the soul of a lost loved one instead of some physical ailment!
Now I am not saying it is wrong to pray for Aunt Martha’s Big Toe! if Aunt Martha has that physical problem. God is also concerned about our bodily needs. Jesus performed many miracles in physically healing the multitudes. What I am saying is, where should be our emphasis? Eternity is much longer than a hundred years! And people are designed by God to be eternal! They will spend forever in some place – either hell or heaven! Should not we pray for the healing of their souls before we pray for their physical needs? Yes, pray for both. But what is really important?
Think about it!