This is my first creation in Tapestry. I hope and pray it ministers to you.
Blessings – From God’s Incubator,
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I have spent the last few blogs discussing what it means to empty one’s self. We are all free to be nothing, if we wish. This story below is about what can happen when someone empties himself and puts another person’s needs before his own. It is about a man who, through giving it all away, literally transformed a whole camp of soldiers.
Angus was a Scottish prisoner in one of the camps filled with Americans, Australians, and British who had helped build the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai. The camp had become an ugly situation. A dog-eat-dog mentality had set in. Allies would literally steal from each other and cheat each other; men would sleep on their packs and yet have them stolen from under their heads. Survival was everything. The law of the jungle prevailed…until the news of Angus McGillivray’s death spread throughout the camp. Rumors spread in the wake of his death. No one could believe big Angus had succumbed. He was strong, one of those whom they had expected to be the last to die. Actually, it wasn’t the fact of his death that shocked the men, but the reason he died. Finally they pieced together the true story.
The Scottish soldiers took their buddy system very seriously. Their buddy was called their “mucker,” and these soldiers believed that is was literally up to each of them to make sure their “mucker” survived. Angus’s mucker though was dying and everyone had given up on him, everyone, of course but Angus. He had made up his mind that his friend would not die. Someone had stolen his mucker’s blanket. So Angus gave him his own, telling his mucker that he had “just come across an extra one.” Likewise, every mealtime, Angus would get his rations and take them to his friend, stand over him and force him to eat them, again stating that he was able to get “extra food.” Angus was going to do anything and everything to see that his buddy got what he needed to recover.
But as Angus’s mucker began to recover, Angus collapsed, slumped over, and died. The doctors discovered that he had died of starvation complicated by exhaustion. He had been giving of his own food and shelter. He had given everything he had — even his very life. The ramifications of his acts of love and unselfishness had a startling impact on the compound.
As word circulated of the reason for Angus McGillivray’s death, the feel of the camp began to change. Suddenly men began to focus on their friends, and the humanity of living beyond survival, of giving oneself away. They began to pool their talents — one was a violin maker, another an orchestra leader, another a cabinet maker, another a professor. Soon the camp had an orchestra full of homemade instruments and a church called the “Church Without Walls” that was so powerful, so compelling, that even the Japanese guards attended. The men began a university, a hospital, and a library system. The place was transformed; love revived all because one man named Angus gave all he had for his friend. For many of those men this turnaround meant survival. What happened is an awesome illustration of the potential unleashed when one person actually gives it all away.
Most of us won’t have an opportunity to literally die for others. But, there are examples of this kind of self-emptying all around us…Dying to self — putting others first – not looking for credit or self-promotion – not doing things out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
This is from Ernest Gordon’s true account of life in a World War II Japanese prison camp, Through the Valley of the Kwai.
Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother (Lazarus) would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” John 11: 32-37
There was a common, unspoken belief among those who followed Jesus. It was believed Jesus could heal anyone at anytime from any distance. Everyone in Lazarus’ circle kept telling the Lord, “If only You would have been here.” These types of statements implied the Lord’s reach of healing extended only unto death, not beyond the grave.
We know from reading the beginning of this chapter Jesus purposefully delayed so that Lazarus would pass away before He arrived. This helps explain why Jesus delayed. He wanted to correct the false beliefs of those who surrounded His ministry. Jesus purposefully delayed so that He might raise Lazarus from the dead, proving His power beyond the grave. I like the way Jesus dealt with false beliefs. He didn’t kick people out of His circle, He confronted their wrong beliefs with POWER!
Why couldn’t the people’s belief system allow Jesus to operate outside the area of healing? Remember, even the disciples couldn’t believe the Lord for food, calming the storms, or even for power to cast out demons. Since they had never seen power manifested in this way, it was beyond their spiritual comprehension.
Please know … These types of barriers were purposefully exposed by the Lord in due season. If the Lord confronted these good folks’ lack of faith, don’t you think He must do the same in our lives? Unfortunately, when God does expose our lack, we interpret His movements as being something else. Instead of correcting ourselves, we get angry, blame the Lord, and throw ourselves a spiritual pity party. Martha and Mary could have become angry because Jesus didn’t arrive in a timely fashion as they requested. They could have easily blamed the Lord for delaying and being unsympathetic to their needs. Like many other believers I know, they could have held this resentment for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, this was not the road they chose to travel and neither should you.
Jesus will never let us settle for less when the best real faith has to offer is fully available. Allow the Lord to expose all your vulnerabilities and areas of lack. If maturity is your goal, then only the best will do.
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