Paradox
Wednesday, March 23, 2011


 

“It is more blessed to give than receive.” (Acts 20:35)

 

                Doing what comes naturally will get you little of value in our world.  The perfect golf swing defies all natural tendencies.  Working hard to become a star athlete, a successful business person, and devoted parent – all these things defy our natural tendencies.  We cannot have a successful marriage and be selfish at the same time – yet selfishness in marriage is the very natural urge.  It is simply impossible to achieve what it desirable for humanity, while following our natural urges.

 

                That is why Christianity is such a paradox.  It goes against the grain of every teaching known to mankind (except of course the teachings of Christ and the apostles).  Take for example the teaching of schools, colleges, and special training courses.  They are designed to show us the skills necessary to achieve the highest levels we can achieve – except of course the most important endeavor of all.  The world says seek first the world and acquire what you want.  Jesus teaches just the opposite.  He says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food, shelter, and clothing) will be added unto you.”  See the great paradox.  Seek earth and you miss what is most important.  Seek God and you will get earth.  C. S. Lewis put it so well in Mere Christianity, “Seek heaven and you will get earth thrown in; seek earth and you will get neither.”

 

                There are many paradoxes in the Christian faith.  However, in each paradox, there is an underlying truth, that if followed would radically change the world in which we live.  For example, “The first will become last and the last will become first.”  This “Kingdom principle” demonstrates Christ’s command of our attitude toward others.  If we put ourselves first, it may serve our material needs for a while, but it does not go without God’s notice.  An earthly life filled with self-service will result in being last in the Kingdom.  Conversely, a servant’s heart on earth, always putting the good of others ahead of your own, makes for good marriages, good business, good churches, and a far more loving and superior way of life – and in the end, that too is noticed by God and rich will be your reward.

 

                Then there is the paradox of living itself.  “Whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever gives his life for My sake will find it.”  Living for Jesus is the only way we can find real life – life that is fulfilling on earth and filled with eternal rewards.  This, while going against the grain of human teaching, is a simple concept in reality.  Living a marriage for Jesus means loving, respecting, trusting, giving, hoping, and serving one another.  Living a marriage for yourself, means only daily conflict, usually ending in divorce or a best a miserable life.  Finding your own satisfaction in business makes you a poor business person who will ultimately pay the price (remember Bernie Madoff).  But building your business around serving others and using your profits to make a better world will profit you far beyond what you can understand from reading the various business gurus.

 

                Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”  This goes against the grain of every human desire.  Watch a child.  They want what belongs to another.  They desire to win at the cost of another.  They want to be the center of attention.  And when these tendencies are allowed to grow, we encourage children who will most likely end in prison, but in the best case, one who will grow into a very miserable life.  But there is something about giving that releases blessings.  When we give in our marriage, we find all of a sudden the marriage becomes stronger.  When we give to our employees instead of taking advantage of them, all of a sudden we learn that we are getting more than our money’s worth.  When we give, we learn that there are blessings that are released in our hearts that make us far more joyful, that if we focus on what we can receive. 

                 There are many other paradoxes in the teachings of Jesus.  And as strange as they appear on the surface, the disciple will learn that following His teachings will release blessings far beyond what we can ever count.  Doing what comes naturally, simply will not transform us into the heavenly beings that Christ so willing died for.  He practiced what He preached and the world is infinitely better off.  So too would the world continue to grow in grace if His followers began to live in the cross hairs of the paradox.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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