“Peter said, silver and gold have I not, but what I do have I give to you……..”
The scarcity of some specific person, place or thing tends to create value. There are only so many Kings, so many white sandy beaches and so many Babe Ruth cards out there. In the “Gladiator” when Lucilla spoke to the praetorian Guard these words: “Isn’t Rome worth the life of one good man; we believed it once, make us believe it again,” she was speaking of a man who’d lived and died for a noble cause. Aristotle wrote: “man should not be brave because he is forced to be brave, but because he believes courage is a noble thing.” It’s obvious if you haven’t seen the movie “Gladiator” you might have missed something here. Go now, rent the movie, watch it; Gladiator, Braveheart and the original True Grit are prerequisites in life.
A man who desires to live like Jesus must equally desire to live less like a reflection, but the real image; it comes by no less means than threw prayer, love, and by suffering. “I live no longer, not ‘I ‘; but I live with the life of Christ, who lives in me.” These were Paul’s words to the Galatians. We take our place and title too seriously. We take our limitations as men, to gravely. Thomas A. Kempis wrote: “If we would endeavor like brave men, to stand in the battle, surely we should feel the favorable assistance from God.” The words, “Brave men” almost need to be whispered today, unless your are on a football field or in the military. Politically and socially it is far too dangerous to speak, much less to act, in brave fashion without some group or individual being slighted by this brash countenance. Peter concluded his statement of being somewhere short of a monarchs dowry, saying: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk”. Can you conclude that he is a mere reflection, or, a man filled with the presence of Christ, brave and resolute; certainly, he is not whispering.
“For whoever wishes to save his life shall loose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s shall save it”
We have become so preoccupied with the individual self in the western culture that even these words of Mark draw us toward conclusions, that somehow this life is still something all about us, our wills, our actions.
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away”
If Aristotle was right, we might believe that real courage was giving ones self and ones individualism into God’s hands. And, like the Greeks, we might recognize that the greatest courage comes from those who inspire others within the ranks toward courageous endeavors. The early Greeks rewarded acts of courage within their citizen army. The highest of these awards were for men leading men courageously, the lowest, for rash acts of individual valor. It would be hard to find such stewardship of ego in our present day. Rare at best, what we seek is to Be the One. However, in the epitaphs that linger longest in our memory, there are those that tell the brief choreography of a life that painted such selfless scenes. Such men are like Kings, white sandy beaches and Babe Ruth cards. Rare. Ain’t it so.