Expression vs. Object

9 06 2013

If we allow ourselves to be full of hate, then they’ve won. We must not let them take our hearts.

-William from “Machine Gun Preacher”

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be
devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Jesus from “NIV Bible”

There is a story in the bible of Jesus final meal, also called the Last Supper, with His disciples.  During this meal, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him.  They began talking among themselves about who it might be, and finally, one of the disciples asked Jesus who the betrayer was.  Jesus dipped some bread in a dish and gave it to Judas.  When Judas received the bread, the story goes that Satan entered Judas at that moment.  Jesus then told him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Later in the story, we read that Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

What led Judas to betray Jesus? Judas had followed Jesus for three years and witnessed Jesus perform numerous miracles.  An earlier story provides some an insight into Judas’ character and gives the probable reason for his betrayal.  In the story, Judas expresses anger at one of the greatest acts of love toward Jesus recorded in scripture.  Mary, the sister of Martha, anointed Jesus’ feet with  an expensive perfume. At discovering this, Judas acted angry using the guise of charity as a cover. He claimed the perfume could have been sold for a large sum of money to help the poor. However, Judas was a thief who had been stealing from the money bag.  Judas had allowed money to become his master, and in turn, he hated Jesus, his former master.

While greed is an obvious distraction from loving God, there are others that are less clear.  One of these is service to God.  In the movie quoted above, Sam Childers, a former gang member, started following Jesus, and eventually, he visited Uganda on mission trip to help build a church.  During this trip, he discovered the children who have to go to cities at night to escape capture by soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony. Sam returned home and received inspiration from God to build a church for “sinners like him,” and to help the children in Uganda.  Sam built the church and a school for the Ugandan children complete with medical facilities, a staff to teach and care for the children, and soldiers to protect the camp.  He encountered several difficulties in building the school and witnessed atrocities committed by the LRA.

After one very disturbing incident involving the massacre of several small children, Sam changes and becomes increasingly belligerent towards everybody.  His focus turned toward preventing another such massacre at all costs.  He ignored the needs of his family, sold his business, and began to doubt God.  His faith in God had lead Sam to care for others, and, now he doubted God and started acting hateful again. In short, Sam began to love his mission rather than loving God, and he became filled with hate.

The above quote is from a boy in Uganda who was a former child soldier, one of the Invisible Children.  In the scene, William goes into Sam’s room in the school and tells Sam how the LRA killed his father and made him kill his mother.  William words reminded Sam of God’s love.  In that moment, Sam’s demeanor softened and his attitude began to change.  It was as if Sam realized the proper object for his love.

For all of us, it is really about expression versus object.   When Jesus is object of our love, service and other expressions of love will flow through us.  When the expressions of love, either noble or ignoble, become the object of our love, we stop loving God.  That is why Jesus said, “no one can serve two masters…you will hate the one and love the other.”

Jesus, may You always be the object of our love and affection. May our expressions of love always flow from our relationship with You!

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