Journey to Bethlehem: December 16 - Word&Way

Journey to Bethlehem: December 16

Let Go and Live Purposefully

Today's Scripture: Matthew 16:21-27

When you first became a Christian, who told you your faith had the potential of stirring up trouble for you? Likely no one.

Keith Herron is senior pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church, Kansas City, Mo.

The last chapters of Matthew’s gospel are littered with Jesus’ hints of what would happen if he went to Jerusalem. What is astounding is his apparent willingness to go, knowing he would suffer and die there. Jesus understood life cannot be preserved and that we are stewards of how life is lived.

Innate within us is a strong need for self-protection. Most of us have a reasonable fear of death. Jesus knew even the threat of death couldn’t keep him from living purposefully in the present moment. 

After a particularly deadly forest fire struck Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers trekked up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage. One ranger found a bird petrified to ash, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Sickened by the devastation, he knocked over the dead bird with his hiking stick. And when he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried out from under their dead mother’s wings.

Keenly aware of impending disaster, the mother had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and gathered them under her wings. She could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze arrived, the mother remained steadfast. In making her life expendable, her young chicks were saved.

Sometimes picking up our cross may fatalistically appear to be giving in to a lost cause. But the truth that guided Jesus in those times was the hope that God was releasing a greater power of love in the world. 

Want to be more like Jesus? Then loosen up on the death grip you have over your life. See it for the incredibly generous gift it is from God and pour it out freely.